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How To Tackle Botnet Attacks (Part One)

Recent reports that Microsoft has won court approval to shut down a host of computers, responsible for more than 1.5 billion daily spam messages worldwide, is a welcome development. As a result of this ruling, Microsoft says that about 277 Internet domains, which were used to control the “Waledac” botnet (about 90,000 computers), would stop receiving orders from hackers to send out spam. Although, this particular botnet has been successfully shut down, thousands of computers are still infected globally. Therefore making the need to understand what a botnet is and how to tackle botnet attacks an important one for computer owners and Internet users.

What is a Botnet?

A botnet is short for robot and computer networks. It is defined as a network of computers that are compromised and controlled by software robots by a hacker. Usually the hacked computers are connected to the Internet and do not display any symptoms that would make their owners suspicious of its hijacked state.

How Botnet Works

How a botnet works

Computers can be affected by visiting malicious Web pages or opening an email containing a virus attachments in familiar formats such as Word documents or PDF files. Once the attachment is opened, “a vulnerability in the application used to open the document will be exploited and a tiny piece of code will execute and then download a larger file from the rogue web site” to begin communication with a remote computer.

The next part of this article will look at the possible consequences of botnet attacks and how they can be dealt with. Stay tuned.

Talking Point

Have you ever been a victim of a botnet attack?

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  1. renan

    February 26, 2010 at 2:36 am

    Hey webmaster, good day. Totally Great work. You have gained a new fan. Please continue this awesome work and I look forward to see more of your excellent posts. Take care.

  2. marc evans

    February 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    There are active discussions in the anti-malware and related arenas as to if take downs are truly effective. Some argue that they have whack-a-mole effect, others that it causes an escalation in an arms race where the malicious actors are more agile, and still others that believe that any impact is a good impact. I and Umbra Data believe that take downs need to be carefully considered and that in many circumstances it is better knowing where the malicious behavior is emitting from then it is to cause it to move.

  3. Admin

    March 1, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    It is quite difficult to imagine that this latest move by Microsoft will only provide temporary reprieve especially as botnets are said to be responsible for over 80% of spam emails Worldwide. However, Marc is right to say that any impact should be considered good impact.

  4. Hampshire Nursing Homes

    April 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    I don’t really understand a lot about networks and stuff but I’m always eager to see what attacks and threats there are out there so I can ask a friend of mine how it works and find out more about it.

  5. Self Storage Ramsbottom

    July 16, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Thanks for posting this, lifted my day.

  6. Marc Rasmussen

    August 10, 2011 at 7:12 am

    I never heard of Botnet before and I’m glad that i came across with this post. Nowadays, there are a lot of dangerous and malicious files and softwares out there so we better be careful. Thanks for sharing!

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