Botnets are computer programs that are designed to take control of your computer without your knowledge. They are designed to infect computers and allow hackers to remotely control your computer via an Internet connection. Most users are unaware their computer has been hijacked because little evidence can be found that the computer is not working as expected. Once a computer has been compromised it is sometimes referred to as a bot or zombie. Having antivirus or other security software on your computer can help reduce the risk of being compromised by botnets but hackers are constantly developing new ways to circumvent these measures. Updating antivirus software regularly is one way to minimize the likelihood that computers can be used for malicious purposes (“What are Bots, Botnets and Zombies?” n.d.).
The impact of botnets on business functions can be profound. Not only can computers be made to perform tasks without the users awareness but software like GameOver Zeus, or GOZ, ...view middle of the document...
Detection of botnets can be very difficult because many are designed to hide their activities and the infected computer may appear to function normally. The most affective way to deal with botnets is prevention. Again, this requires the use of antivirus software and education. Computer users should understand that opening an email attachment or visiting a suspicious website can result in a botnet taking control of the computer. Another way to protect computers is the use of antispyware programs that monitor the Internet traffic of a computer and can sometimes detect when a computer is being controlled by the botnet creator (“What are Bots, Botnets and Zombies?” n.d.).
The spread of botnets can occur through several different mediums. Typically an infected computer is used to send spam email, which contains the code or program for the botnet. Depending on the type of botnet, the program can then spread using peer-to-peer (P2P) networks or more sophisticated botnets use domain generation algorithms (DGA). Both P2P and DGA allow the exponential spread of the botnet to many other computers (Adhikari, R. 2014a). The botnet GOZ was estimated to have affected somewhere between 500,000 to 1 million computers (Adhikari, R. 2014b).
In conclusion, it is very important to consider the negative impact that botnet software can have on computers connected to the Internet. Additionally, the consequences for business are particularly alarming due to the ability of botnets to steal financial or other information from computers and subsequently be turned into weapons that can be used to shut down websites and servers via DDoS attacks. Education for computer users, antivirus, and antispyware protections can help minimize the impact of botnet programs on business functions but hackers are constantly looking for new ways to compromise security. This further reinforces that anyone using a computer connected to the Internet should exercise caution when dealing with spam email, suspicious websites, or email attachments. Without vigilance it is possible for botnets to cause significant harm as was seen with GOZ, which was estimated to cost US victims $100 million dollars.