Following Microsoft’s landmark court victory against the Waledac botnet network, the organisation has reminded users of the importance of checking their computers for malware as some workstations may still be infected. So then, how do you know if your workstation is a victim of botnet attacks particularly when there is little or no visible symptoms? The answer to that question is quite simple and straightforward – because most botnet attacks span from malicious software, performing regular scanning of your computer for viruses and spyware should reveal whether it has been compromised or not.
Although a computer can be infected by malware in various ways, the following are worth mentioning as they are becoming increasingly common on the Internet today.
Read previous post on Yahoo email scams. Malicious hackers are increasingly exploiting Office documents and PDF attachments. They tend to trick their victims to open or save the corrupted files on their computers and unknowingly execute a tiny piece of code from a rogue Web site.
How many times have you browsed the Internet and all of a sudden an alert message pops up on your screen warning that your computer is infected by a virus or “scanning in progress”? I still find it puzzling that people tend to believe such “warnings” especially when no scanning operation has been initiated by the user. More often than not, the so-called security warnings look out for unsuspecting computer users and falsely advice them to install fake security programs. Such programs are usually available for free or in trial versions.
Consequences of Botnet Attacks
Once a computer has been compromised, the hackers gain complete control and can make it part of a botnet whenever they want. Consequently, the machine can be used to copy files, read email addresses, record keystrokes, send spam messages, carry out denial of service attacks, capture screen shots, create false Web traffic (click fraud) and hide phishing and malware delivery Web sites (fast flux) without the knowledge of the owner.
The final part of this series will suggest various ways computer owners and Internet users can protect themselves against botnet attacks.
Do you scan email attachments before opening or saving them on your computer or do you think it is not necessary to do so?