Botnets are proving to be a difficult hurdle for security professionals, and it’s easy to understand why. Distributed Denial of Service attacks that can knock down servers or services, as well as hordes of remote-controlled zombie computers, are two of the most dangerous ways that hackers use botnets to serve their purposes. What can you do to protect your business from botnets?
Botnets are often-malicious groups of computers that have been infected by a malware that allows for command-and-control functionality from a single-host server. Owners of infected computers often can’t tell that their system has been compromised and they don’t find out until it’s too late to do anything about it. The computers can then continue to spread the infection to as many systems as possible, or use the amount of traffic generated to perform a DDoS attack on a specified target. The infected computers relentlessly ping a website or server until it collapses beneath all of the traffic. Some hackers will even use botnets to generate massive revenue via click-throughs on website ads.
One of a botnet’s most dangerous traits is its accessibility. Anyone who wants to take advantage of a botnet can do so with relative ease. For the average user, DDoS-for-hire botnets are popular and available at a reasonable price. The most dangerous part of this is that they require practically no experience whatsoever, making even a would-be hacker a threat. These DDoS botnets have been estimated to be behind up to 40 percent of all attacks on networks.
It’s safe to say that those who partake in these attacks are usually out to make a bit of chaos, but more powerful, sophisticated botnets are used by government agencies and criminal organizations for various purposes. Attacks of this scale are much more expensive and difficult for the average hacker to use, and the resulting scale of the attack is a testament to this. These botnets can perform DDoS attacks that exceed several GB/second. Corero Network Security found that there has recently been a 25 percent increase in attacks of 10GB/second or higher--unnerving numbers, to say the least.
Rather than one of these immense state-sponsored botnets, you’ll probably be more likely to encounter a typical zombified botnet. Yet, even these are still dangerous, as a botnet will often be sent out into the wild to infect and subvert other computers. One potential use for these botnets is sending spam to spread malware, allowing for the infection of even more systems to bring into the botnet. As the botnet grows, the problem becomes more difficult to deal with.
Botnets and DDoS attacks in general can be challenging to protect against, but your business doesn’t have to face them alone. You can implement enterprise-level security solutions that are designed to keep malware-spreading spam out of your inbox, and with a remote monitoring and maintenance solution, you can have an outsourced pair of eyes on your network traffic at all times. This helps your business focus on operations rather than bracing from an incoming attack.