What is a Botnet Attack?

Cyberattacks are making headlines in today’s digital environment and they can affect everyone – regardless of their age, location or job title. From phishing to DDOS, many threats can be used against you and your company. One of the most common attacks that make their way through your network is a Botnet Attack.

A botnet is a group of infected devices that have been enslaved by malware to execute an attack. These devices are called zombies and they’re controlled by a hacker or a group of hackers known as a bot herder. A herder commands all the infected computers to perform specific tasks such as stealing data, sending spam emails, downloading ransomware, fraudulently clicking on ads or attacking other networks with DDoS attacks. In some cases, a decentralized model will allow the bot herder to communicate with infected zombies via a peer-to-peer system.

Defending Against Cyber Threats: Understanding the Botnet Attack

The first step of a botnet attack involves the hacker or bot herder finding a vulnerable target. This can be done by exploiting security gaps in websites and software, using phishing emails, or distributing Trojan viruses. Once a device is infected, the herder can begin to build his/her army of zombies.

As attackers continue to grow their botnets, they’ll start to unleash a variety of cyberattacks against their targets. The most common are DDOS attacks, but they also include phishing attacks to trick people into providing sensitive information and passwords. Those credentials are then used to grow the botnet and launch additional attacks such as data thefts and credential leaks. Some attackers even use the botnet to execute device “bricking” attacks that over time cause a computer or device to stop working, leaving it completely useless.