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How Does a Botnet Work

A botnet is a group of programs that connect through the Internet in order to communicate with other similar applications so that it can perform jobs. It can be used as a method to control the Internet Relay Chat channel, which is a system that assists the transfer of certain messages in the form of text. The chat process functions on a client/server type of networking, and the clients are represented by computer programs that users can install on their systems.

A botnet can operate in distributed denial-of-service attacks, which are actions performed by at least two persons or bots. These actions are attempts that are meant to suspend or interrupt services of a host which is connected to the Internet. So, a particular device or a network resource will become unavailable to those who were using it. Furthermore, the term “botnet” is a combination of the words “rebot” and “network”, and it is used with a negative connotation. It refers to a group of computers that were recruited by operating a malicious software.

The bot master is the server that controls the group for criminal purposes such as sending email spams or participating in distributed denial-of-service attacks. It uses a cover channel like Twitter to compromise systems by using tools like buffer overflows and exploits. Moreover, it propagates through the vulnerabilities and weak passwords that it scans, and it steals computer resources.

The architecture that these programs feature improved over time, so they are more resilient to discovery and shutdown. Therefore, they gain strength, especially since the estimated size of a network reflects 20,000 computers. Here is how a botnet functions:

  • the person who runs it sends out worms or viruses that include a malicious application, a bot, which affects other users’ computers;
  • the bot on the damaged computer logs into a specific C&C server;
  • a spammer gets the botnet’s services from the operator, and it delivers the spam message to the operator;
  • the operator instructs the infected devices through the control panel that is located on the web server, making them send out spam messages.

In order to protect your computer from these types of threats, we recommend you to opt for strong passwords, and we also advise you to avoid using the same password for all your accounts. If an account is compromised, the risk of jeopardizing your other accounts is very high. So, try not to expose yourself to these types of complications.

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