1. Rapid Infect
2. Conceals Purpose
The Botnet Zombie is a Malware program that helps generate profit for the hacker. The Malware will get installed on a host computer (the zombie or bot), and report to a master who forms a network of bots called a “botnet.” This master has full control of the zombie computer and is the number one method of sending spam and infecting other computers. According to Mark Ciampa, Ph.D – “Due to the multitasking capabilities of modern computers, a computer can act as a zombie while at the same time carrying out the tasks of its regular user. The user is completely unaware that his or her computer is being used for malicious activities.”
How many computers are controlled by a Botnet?
The answer may surprise you. One botnet controlled by a European bot herder contained 1.5 million zombies. Security experts estimate that between 7 and 25% of all computers on the internet belong to a Botnet. Since Botnets keep a low profile, they are not always picked up by even the best Antivirus software and are able to remain active for years before they are discovered.
Could your computer be infected?
Possibly, yes. It is hard to fight an enemy that you cannot see, hear touch or smell. Botnet herders are often very good at covering their tracks. Tracing them often leads to another hijacked computer. In fact, they are believed to be the largest source of spam. They are responsible for some 80% of spam messages sent. That is over 135 billion spam messages each day! How can you make sure that you are not among these numbers?
Reducing Your Risk…
A wise man once said: “Nothing in life is free.” That usually goes for Free software on the internet. Don’t want to pay for Windows Licensing? Some guy on the internet is willing to give you the latest copies of Windows Operating Systems and Office suites! When you do this, you often times can’t install the very critical security updates that help protect you from these types of attacks! Don’t want to pay for movies? Some guy on the internet will allow you to download BitTorrent software and links that will allow you to watch as many free movies as you want! Sometimes you have to download additional software to watch the movie that the site happily provides.
My point is this… As much as we enjoy getting things for free, some people may find themselves with cracked software and operating systems with no security updates and no antivirus, firewall or adware protection. This often contributes to the never-ending Botnet community of zombie computers.
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Security+ Guide to Network Security Fundamentals 4.Ed – Mark Ciampa, Ph.D