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Botnets

A 23 year old known as "Iserdo" was arrested in Slovenia for being responsible for the "Mariposa" botnet. This botnet is believed to have infected over 10 million computers.

So what is a botnet? A botnet is a malicious program that is installed on a computer without the owner realizing it is there. Grouped together with thousands or millions of other infected PCs, it creates a network of PCs that can be used to send out spam, collect information such as credit card numbers and bank log in details as well as other things. They are often "sold" or "rented" out to others to use for these purposes.

Botnets are hard to completely shutdown because they are often so wide spread, duplicating itself to other PCs, and updating itself so that antivirus and anti-malware software can’t easily detect them.

Tips to avoid being infected by a botnet:

  • Keep your PC updated. Get the latest patches for Windows, internet browsers and other programs you use. Many botnets infect PCs through security flaws that aren’t patched.
  • Don’t open suspicious email, especially ones with attachments. A lot of botnets will send out fake emails that look like they are coming from your ISP or email provider. Sometimes they will come with an executable file (.exe) or a zipped file. Once you run these files your PC gets infected.
  • Be careful of websites you aren’t familiar with. Some websites are setup with malicious code or legitimate websites are sometimes hacked and have malicious code uploaded to them. Some of them will pop up fake "reports" about your PC being infected and prompt you to click on something to fix it. When you click on the link it downloads and installs the malware that infects your PC. Which leads to the next point.
  • Make sure you have good antivirus and/or anti-malware software on your computer AND know what they are. Having a good antivirus program isn’t much good if you don’t know what you have and when you see a pop up from a fake program, you mistaken it for your own and do what it says.
     
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