Recently Trustwave’s SpiderLabs revealed some shocking cyber crime stats. According to the report, a botnet stole 2 million login and passwords of some most popular sites including Facebook, Google and Twitter.
There were some similar incidents in the past when botnet was used by hackers to break into the users’ account by guessing their usernames and password. These incidents made botnet quite a menace, associated with malware attacks, DDoS, phishing and cause of other information security related threats. But it is not completely true.
A botnet or a robot network comprises a set of internet-linked programs, designed to connect with other similar programs (usually the server) to complete different tasks. Depending on its use, it can be good and bad.
In early days of their creation, bots were controlled by Internet Relay Chat (IRC) that serves the purpose of connecting to chat rooms, which people used for exchanging messages. It was a 10—15 year old practice which was replaced by instant messaging platforms including MSN Messenger, ICQ, and AIM.
Botnet – The ‘Bad Guy’
It was long ago when botnet was a ‘good guy’. These days, the control of many botnets has been shifted from IRC channels to website using HTTP.
Hackers and cybercriminals send virus, Trojans or malicious software through spam mails, links and attachments. When you click these links or open the attachments, your computer becomes a bot or zombie. This allows the hackers to control your computer from a remote location without you knowing it.
When criminals infect a large number of computers using bots (as the case in recent hacker attacking compromising 2 million accounts), the computers form a network called botnet.
Botnets are very powerful and are used to spread viruses and attack more and more computers and servers. It also leads to serious crimes like identity theft, phishing, stealing your credentials and gaining illegal access to your bank accounts and…