Botnets: What Are They And How Do You Protect Yourself From Them?

What are Botnets and why are they considered one of the biggest threats to computer security? Learn keys to detect them and know tools to protect yourself from an infection with which you will lose control of your computer equipment and mobile devices. Prevent your computer from becoming a zombie.

What Are Botnets And How Do They Infect Your Computer?

When we talk about Botnets, we mean, along with ransomware, one of the main threats to global cybersecurity. The term botnet is the union of the two concepts: ‘bot’ and ‘net’; This is robot and network, and it is behind many of the cyberattacks that leave web pages, messaging services and servers without service. Do you remember the worldwide cyberattack of last October 2016?

What are botnet networks? The definition of botnets, according to Wikipedia , is that of “a set or network of computer robots or bots, which run autonomously and automatically. The creator of the botnet network can control all infected computers and servers remotely. ”

If this happens, you will lose control of your computer equipment, which will become a “zombie computer” that can be used by cybercriminals, along with hundreds of thousands of other devices, to launch a cyber attack.

How are botnets spread? Before your computer becomes a zombie, it is necessary that there has been a computer infection, in the case of botnets, it is usually linked to the installation of malicious software that, without realizing it, is downloaded to your computer from web pages of dubious security or by sending infected links through the mail.

What Are Botnets Used For?

The use of botnets is associated with cybercrime and, once the zombie computer network has been configured, it can be used to:

  • Massive sending of ‘spam’ emails with which it is intended to infect other computers and servers. If your computer is infected, it will serve as a transmission vehicle for millions of emails to all your contacts.
  • Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS). Thanks to the network of infected computers, cybercriminals can saturate computer servers with millions of queries and requests with which to cause a collapse and a service outage.
  • Theft of credentials. If your computer or device is infected by botnets, all control of your accounts, personal data, bank card numbers and passwords is in the hands of strangers who can do whatever they want with them.
  • Massive sending of advertising that appears again and again on your screen and prevents the proper functioning of your browser, making it impossible for you to browse the Internet. Sometimes botnets also carry the function of accessing advertising banners, so you could be accessing payment services without being able to control it.
  • Theft of bitcoins. Botnet networks can alter the operation of payment systems with the Bitcoin cryptocurrency since they are integrated in the chain and can carry out operations charged to your accounts. Be careful with this.
  • Recruitment of other teams. Once your device is infected, it becomes part of a botnet network whose objective is to continue expanding among your contacts and, in this way, grow and recruit new zombie computers.
  • Attacks on Internet of Things devices. It is one of the latest and most dangerous botnet network utilities that take advantage of the lack of security in connected objects to create a network of zombie objects and devices with which to control their operation and requests.

How To Recognize A Botnet Infection

Being protected from botnets or from any threat against computer security, begins with a responsible use of your devices, but anyone can be a victim and, without knowing it, be part of a botnet network that, as we have indicated, is an infection that it may be latent and manifest at the moment in which the cybercriminal decides to execute the order.

How to know if you are infected by botnets? There are signs that indicate this and to which you should pay maximum attention:

  • Your computer equipment and the applications and programs you have installed take a long time to open and take action. Botnets cause your computer to slow down and this also affects browsing speed when you are on the Internet.
  • Windows are opened without your permission and when you browse you suffer the constant irruption of banners and advertising on pages where, until recently, you navigated without problems.
  • Posts that you have not made appear on your social media profiles.
  • Your contacts inform you that they have received emails from your account that you do not know about.
  • You cannot download the updates of your operating system or the antivirus that you have installed.
  • Your computer takes a long time to shut down or restart.
  • Your computer fan is activated even when your computer is off. Botnets run programs without your consent, don’t forget, and they do so at any time using your Internet connection.

How To Protect Yourself From Botnets: Tips And Tools

When it comes to putting solutions, the tips to protect yourself from botnets and any cybersecurity threat focus on a good use of the Internet, so you should always keep these basic keys in mind:

  1. Regularly change your account passwords and even access to your router.
  2. Botnets take advantage of the vulnerability of certain web pages, avoid accessing sites whose security is in question, or are not well-valued by Internet users.
  3. Always keep your operating system and the antivirus programs you have installed on your computer updated.
  4. If you use connected objects, keep in mind the security keys that we have given you in this post.
  5. Avoid making P2P or Torrent downloads because, in many cases, it is the main way of entry for botnet infections.
  6. Never access links that send you from email or through social networks without being sure of the sender’s reliability and the assurance that the sender has sent it to you.

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