What is a botnet?

A botnet is a network of compromised computers or devices that are under the control of a malicious actor or a group of attackers, known as the botmaster or bot-herder. These compromised devices, often referred to as "bots" or "zombies," are typically infected with malware that allows the attacker to control them remotely without the knowledge or consent of their owners. It allows to hide the attacker's personality because he doesn't participate directly in attacks.

Botnets are created by infecting many devices, including computers, servers, IoT devices, routers, or even smartphones. The malware used to infect these devices is spread through various means, such as email attachments, malicious downloads, drive-by downloads, or exploiting software vulnerabilities.

Once a device is infected and becomes part of a botnet, it establishes a command and control (C&C) channel with the botmaster. The botmaster can then issue commands to the bots, instructing them to perform certain actions collectively. These actions can include launching Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, sending spam emails, spreading malware, stealing sensitive information, conducting click fraud, or engaging in other malicious activities.

Botnets provide several advantages to attackers:

  • Scale and Power: By controlling a large number of compromised devices, botmasters can harness the combined processing power, bandwidth, and resources of the bots to carry out highly distributed and coordinated attacks, making it difficult to mitigate or trace the source of the attacks.
  • Resilience and Redundancy: Botnets are designed to be resilient, with backup command and control channels and the ability to replace or update infected bots quickly. This allows them to maintain their operations even if some bots are detected and taken down.
  • Profitability: Botnets can be monetized in various ways, such as renting them out to other cybercriminals, conducting DDoS attacks for ransom, stealing sensitive information for financial gain, engaging in click fraud to generate ad revenue, or sending spam emails to promote scams or malicious products.

Mitigating botnets is a complex task that requires collaboration between security organizations, internet service providers (ISPs), and affected individuals.

Measures to combat botnets include:

  • deploying up-to-date security software;
  • regularly patching vulnerabilities;
  • using strong and unique passwords;
  • monitoring network traffic for suspicious activity;
  • educating users about safe computing practices.

Our threat intelligence data feeds provide the lists of the known Domains, URLs, IPv4/IPV6 addresses, and CIDRs, attributed with the following threat types:

  • threatType = 'C2' for Command and Control servers
  • threatType = botnet for botnet nodes

Overall, we have about 1,000,000+ of such IoCs in our daily data feed.

Using these data feeds, organizations can:

  • automatically block traffic coming to/from the botnets;
  • flag traffic coming to/from the botnets – for further review by security specialists;

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