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What is a Botnet?: Types of Botnets Attacks, Examples & Prevention Measures in 2023

what is a botnet a complete guide

A botnet is a collection of devices, typically computers, that have been infected with malicious software and are under the control of a computer hacker.

Botnets can be used to conduct distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, send spam emails, steal personal information, or participate in other illegal activities.

A malware program that allows a user to control a large number of computers, is being used more and more by hackers to launch devastating cyber attacks.

This type of malware is called a Trojan horse because once it is installed on a computer, it gives the hacker remote access to that computer.

The majority of botnets are created using malware-infected Java files or web browser exploits. Once installed on a victim’s machine, the malware uses that computer to attack other machines.

The more computers in a botnet, the more powerful it becomes. Botnets can contain thousands or even millions of infected computers, servers, and other Internet-connected devices that are under the control of criminals.

It’s a complex network of machines (often referred to as a “zombie army”) that is used to distribute spam and malware, send out phishing emails, attack websites, launch denial-of-service attacks, and perform other illegal activities.

The most common way for hackers to spread this type of malware is by creating an email with a link to download the software via email.

The link may look like it’s going to a trusted website but instead redirects the user to another site that has malicious code.

What are Botnet Attacks?

As discussed earlier, Botnets are a collection of computers, which have been compromised by malware, and then controlled by a malicious operator. A hacker uses the botnet to take down websites, send spam mail, or hack other devices.

Owing to that, A botnet attack is a coordinated effort by a group of infected computers to overload the servers of a website or network. It is also known as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

DDoS attacks occur when a website or server is overwhelmed with requests, making it impossible for legitimate users to access the site or services.

These attacks are becoming more common as cybercriminals find ways to recruit botnets from around the world into their networks.

An infection is caused in some way by an application running on one computer that causes damage via unwanted software, hardware, virus or other means.

The term occurs frequently when describing malicious code used for exploitation online and typically refers mainly to applications made especially specifically for Internet-connected devices (e *.NET Web Applications), such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Windows Media Player, Adobe Reader, etc.

A cyberattack usually leads inevitably to widespread destruction of valuable data among users whose PCs are targeted directly through distributed denial defense networks, where compromised equipment can be collected from public access media providing links to download protected information during attacks involving malware designed intentionally by attackers.

What is Botnet Malware?

Botnet malware is a type of malware that takes over computers and makes them part of a network. It allows a computer to be controlled by another computer without the owner’s knowledge.

For example, botnet malware might allow someone’s laptop to send spam in the owner’s name. Attackers use botnets to steal information from you, send spam, and make your computer part of a larger cyber attack.

This malware isn’t always easy to detect. It can reside on your computer for weeks or even months without you knowing about it.

The malware can allow hackers to activate the computer and use its resources to perform different tasks under their control, like sending out spam or interfering with other computer systems.

The best way to protect yourself from botnet malware is to have the best Internet security software installed on your computer.

Initially, Botnet malware was created for legitimate purposes, such as network management and website testing.

But unfortunately, It has been used by attackers to attack multiple targets by launching DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks or spamming methodologies.

Types of Botnets

There are three distinct types of botnets based on their function and size.

  • The first and the most common type is the “DDoS” or Distributed Denial of Service botnet which is used by hackers to launch DDoS attacks.
  • This attack happens when multiple systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system, usually one or more web servers.
  • DDoS attacks can be executed through various techniques, including exploiting software vulnerabilities or simply overwhelming the target with an enormous amount of internet traffic (commonly known as a volumetric attack).
  • The second type is “spam-bots”, which are used to send out spam messages in large volumes. A spam bot is a botnet that is an automatic software application that allows cybercriminals to send out large amounts of phishing emails with just one click.
  • Usually, the botnet members are computers used by unsuspecting people who have no idea their machines have been infected with malware.
  • When the spam bot is connected to a huge network, it can send out thousands of emails in a matter of minutes.
  • The third category is “click bots” which are used for click fraud. These are malicious software programs that can be used to do damage to a business’s network, steal data or even create havoc with its users.
  • This type of cyber attack can be difficult to detect and prevent because it uses software to mimic human interaction on a website.

What causes a Botnet?

Botnets are made up of a number of bots or bot instances that are used to perform attacks on single or multiple targets.

A botnet is remotely controlled by a “bot herder”, who is in charge of the network. The bot herders may use several techniques to take control of the bots, including:

  • #Malware
  • #phishing
  • #Exploit kits

By compromising these systems, bot herders can use them for various tasks, including:

  • Cross-posting: Bot herders can use bots to cross-post the same content (links and images) to multiple social network accounts.
  • Comment spamming: Bot herders can use bots to leave comments on various blogs.
  • Follow/unfollow: Bot herders can use bots to subscribe and unsubscribe from various accounts, creating fake followers for the profiles involved.

Actions such as these are often used for trolling, generating backlinks for other sites, or simple amusement. However, they can also be used to artificially boost or manipulate a site’s ranking in SERPs.

Fun fact: The term ‘botnet’ is often used interchangeably with the term ‘zombie army’.

How Can Botnets Be Controlled?

There are several ways to control botnets. One method is to stop people from using a computer to create the botnet in the first place. Since computers can be controlled remotely, this is not always possible.

However, it is possible to make the process of creating a botnet more difficult. This can be done by requiring multiple logins and security checks before a computer can be used in a botnet.

However, it is possible to make the process of creating a botnet more difficult. This can be done by requiring multiple logins and security checks before a computer can be used in a botnet.

A good example would seem that one could create two accounts on both sides of the same VPN service using different passwords.

Another way is by using a sinkhole, which downloads malicious content and sends a fake URL back to the originator of the malware. It also blocks traffic from going to known malicious URLs.

One can also use honeypots that detect or at least try to detect malware and then analyze them for patterns that might help identify other attackers who use similar tactics in their attacks against other targets.

Another way of controlling a botnet is by using an active response system that monitors for any suspicious activity on a network and responds to those activities as necessary.

Where is The Botnet Used?

Some are used to send spam, some to steal data and some even to recruit zombies into a cyber army!

The most common use though is to send spam emails (unsolicited commercial messages).

When an email address is collected from a spammer the spammer can usually add it to a botnet, so when the spammer needs an email address they can simply ping their botnet and have a fresh batch of email addresses delivered straight away.

A botnet is also used in the case of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Botnets are used to cause traffic overload on a server, hence overloading the server.

It can be used for both good and bad purposes.

Botnets also help hackers steal personal information such as usernames and passwords.

What is The Impact on Business Due To Botnets?

Attacks on the internet are not new. In fact, attacks are as old as the internet itself. With the introduction of the internet protocol suite and TCP/IP, computers were able to send messages to one another across a global network.

It was this very standard that allowed for the creation of the Internet which we know today.

One of these protocols, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), was designed for reliable communication between devices on a local network without any acknowledgment from a receiver that a message has been received.

Since TCP required no acknowledgment from a receiver, it was vulnerable to attack. Most people have heard of the word “botnet” and assume they know what it is.

But, in fact, very few people truly understand the impact that botnets have on society as a whole.

Botnets are networks of computers around the world that have been infected with a virus and subsequently controlled by a hacker.

They can be used for good or for bad, but most often botnets are used for illegal activity such as spamming or DDoS attacks.

The problem is that most people don’t understand how a botnet works and the control it gives to hackers.

Botnets are created by hackers and organized crime groups to take over other people’s computers and use them without their knowledge.

Botnet creators will exploit security vulnerabilities in software running on computers, internet-enabled devices, industrial control systems, mobile phones, web servers or any other network-connected device.

They do this by sending out spam emails or infected attachments, or through drive-by downloads from websites that they own.

How To Prevent Botnet Attacks?

Botnets have caused many, often tens or hundreds of thousands, of compromised computer systems known as bots.

The bots are typically controlled by one or more attackers and can be used to perform various tasks such as harvesting personal information, spamming chat rooms with unwanted messages, DDoS attacks on other computers and networks, and mining bitcoins.

There are many ways to prevent botnet attacks. They can be prevented by having people implement good security practices like installing the latest software updates on their devices which will automatically protect them from most exploits.

There are many ways to prevent botnet attacks. They can be prevented by having people implement good security practices like:

– Keeping their system and programs up to date.

– Not opening suspicious email attachments and links.

– Protecting passwords and updating them periodically.

– Limiting the use of public Wi-Fi networks and using strong security systems when connecting to remote networks.

The Best Example of a Botnet Attack:

One of the most common botnet attacks is DDoS, an attack in which the perpetrator floods their target with requests to make it unavailable to its users.

One of the most recent botnet attacks happened when Meltdown was disclosed in January 2018.

Meltdown is a vulnerability in Intel x86-64 hardware, which affects the CPU’s built-in memory cache. Attackers could exploit Meltdown by running specially prepared code on a user’s computer system to achieve privilege escalation.

The vulnerability existed in processors manufactured since 1995 (when the first Pentium II processors were released) but was not publicized to protect corporations from hackers until early 2018.

Intel estimates that Meltdown can be mitigated with software fixes for 90% of its processors introduced since 1995 and that the remaining 10% cannot be fully mitigated except by replacing their hardware.

Mitigation Measures

The current best protection measure is to install a firewall between your machines and public IPs or other devices that will help prevent packets from getting past. This mitigates attacks on you, but it’s slow (I ran into this in my previous case).

Another way to protect yourself is through network filtering such as Tor: every user of any web server online would need to use an alternate internet connection if they want their accounts to remain secure.

A third method for securing servers looks at encryption-like passwords so only those with technical knowledge can access them.

But even then each piece of information takes time to be cryptographically verified until after login!

If you’re not looking at a password or don’t have the technological know-how, your attacks are easily thwarted by some kind that is both easy and reliable.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, these botnets are a major threat to internet security and they need to be dealt with before they get out of hand.

As of now, you can do a few things straight away. Either use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to encrypt the data packets traveling on the internet.

VPNs also allow for more private browsing, which means less chance of malware infecting the user’s device.

Another solution is for ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to deploy network-level filtering that blocks malicious traffic at the ISP’s boundary.

With these technical solutions, it is possible that we can reduce or even eliminate botnet attacks on ISPs and users. That’s all!

Kevin James

Kevin James

I'm Kevin James, and I'm passionate about writing on Security and cybersecurity topics. Here, I'd like to share a bit more about myself. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity from Utica College, New York, which has been the foundation of my career in cybersecurity. As a writer, I have the privilege of sharing my insights and knowledge on a wide range of cybersecurity topics. You'll find my articles here at, covering the latest trends, threats, and solutions in the field.