What is a Bot/Botnet?
A botnet is a network of infected computers managed by a bot herder. The bot herder is the person in charge of running the botnet network and using hacked machines to launch attacks meant to crash a target's network, implant malware, collect passwords, or perform CPU-intensive activities. Each device in the botnet infrastructure is referred to as a bot.
How Do Botnets Operate?
For the past decade, botnets have been one of the most frequent ways of malware distribution, affecting hundreds of millions of machines.
As bots infect emerging innovations, such as Internet of Things (IoT) products in households, public places, and protected locations, hacked systems might expose even more unwitting users.
The processes of building a botnet may be broken down into three steps:
Activate, Infect, and Expose
In step 1, the hacker will discover a flaw in a website, application, or user behaviour to expose people to infection. The goal of a bot herder is for consumers to be ignorant of their exposure and eventual malware infection. They may exploit security flaws in software or websites to distribute malware via emails, drive-by downloads, or trojan horse downloads.
In step 2, victims' devices are infected with malware capable of gaining control. Following the initial malware infection, hackers might use online downloads, exploit kits, popup advertisements, and email attachments to generate zombie machines.
The herder will connect the infected system to a command and control server if the botnet is centralised. If the botnet is a P2P botnet, peer propagation begins, and the zombie devices attempt to communicate with additional infected devices.
Once the bot herder has attacked a significant amount of bots, they can launch their attacks. The zombie devices will then download the most recent update from the C&C channel to get their order. The bot then executes its commands and participates in hostile behaviour.
The bot herder can continue maintaining and building their botnet remotely to carry out numerous nefarious operations.
Bots do not specifically target people since the bot herder's purpose is to infect as many items as possible so that bots may carry out harmful assaults.
What Are Some of the Most Frequent Bot Types?
Chatbot: These bots use pre-programmed answers to replicate human communication. Chatbots are frequently employed in service and support scenarios, eliminating the need for human assistance.
Web crawler: Also known as spiders, these bots examine content on webpages all across the Internet and index it in search engines. Web scraping crawlers used to gather and extract relevant material are similar to these bots.
Shopbot: A shopbot searches the Internet for the greatest pricing on a product.
Monitoring bots: are used to check a website or network system's health and notify the necessary IT personnel if an issue is found.
Transactional bot: Transaction bots are employed to carry out human-initiated transactions.
Social bots: These are designed to execute various activities on social media sites.
Malicious bot: Cyber Attackers employ malicious bots to capture content illegally, transmit spam, or carry out assaults such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Because these bots are designed to function in the background, consumers are oblivious that their computers have been compromised.
What Is the Purpose of Botnets?
Botnet designers are always looking for a means to make money or obtain personal fulfilment.
Financial extortion – extortion or direct theft of money
Theft of information — to get access to valuable or secret accounts
Scams using bitcoin — the exploitation of consumers' computing resources to mine for cryptocurrency
Selling access to other crooks — allowing for more frauds on innocent users.
The majority of the motivations for creating a botnet are similar to those for other types of criminality. In many situations, these attackers are motivated to steal something important or start chaos for others.