There are many bot attack security risks that computer users and security professionals must consider for staying safe. A bot or a zombie is a computer that has been infected with a malware by a hacker who can control the device remotely to launch attacks against other computers. When bots work together as a group in coordinated cyberattacks, the infected network of computers is called botnet.
Botnet Attack Process
A botnet attack involves the execution of a malicious software which may be installed by luring users with a spam that includes a link to a trojan horse or, take advantage of an existing vulnerability to gain system access and install the software. There are 3 basic stages of creating and launching botnet attacks:
Find Exploitable Systems
At this initial stage, attackers look for valuable systems that they can access and infect them with their malicious software also called malware. In their search for vulnerable systems, attackers look for system users that can unwittingly help them access the system or simply look for website or system that has inherent system security weaknesses that will allow the attacker to exploit and access the system.
After attackers find a target, they must install the malware in order to control the device. To accomplish this goal, attackers may lure the users into helping them with the malware download and installation or just access the system without user involvement to install the malware thorough backdoor access or exploitation of system access vulnerabilities.
Spams and phishing methods are often used to convince users to take certain actions such as downloading a program or clicking on a link that executes a malicious program. These can be in the form of phishing emails or links to malicious websites.
Once the attacker has control of a large zombie network of botnet, they can configure and use them to launch attacks against websites and other business systems. A botnet may include many compromised cell phones, IoT devices or computers that can be used to perform many malicious activities including flooding targets with traffic to launch a distributed denial-of-service attack.
Bot Attack Security Risks
Botnet attacks can place a computer, data, or network at a serious security risk. Botnets are particularly dangerous because they can be used to launch attacks from many computers at once. Businesses and individuals must understand bot attack security risks and know how to protect themselves. Below are some of the risks associated with bot attacks:
Bot attacks can be used to steal sensitive data from businesses. This data can include customer information, financial data, and trade secrets. When sensitive data is stolen, it can be used to commit fraud or sold on the black market. This can lead to severe financial losses for businesses.
Botnets can spread malware to computers that are not protected by ant-malware software to delete or corrupt files.
Bot attacks can be used to commit financial fraud and steal money from businesses. Ecommerce businesses are at a higher risk of bot attacks. This is because attackers often target commercial websites.
Bot attacks can lead to legal problems for businesses. The business may be liable for damages if personal data is stolen. This can include fines, class-action lawsuits, and damage to the business’s reputation. Legal problems caused by bot attacks can be costly and lead to business shutdown.
Remediation costs are associated with fixing the problems caused by bot attacks and preventing future attacks. These costs include hiring IT staff to fix system issues, upgrading security systems, and paying fines. Lost time spent on fixing the damage could have been spent on productive activities that could generate revenue for the business.
Denial of Service Attacks
Botnets can be used to launch distributed denial of service attacks. DoS attack is when a website or business system is flooded with traffic from the botnet computers, causing severe overload to crash and render systems unavailable.
This is a software that can track the activities of people using the infected computer. A business can be affected if its employees’ computers are infected with spyware which can lead to a loss of productivity and sensitive information being leaked. Key loggers which a type of spyware can be used to steal IDs and passwords to gain access to a person’s accounts and execute transactions.
Botnet Security Solutions
One of the best ways to protect a system against bot attack security risks is to educate users about spams and phishing attacks and how to detect these threats.
Another solution is to update the security systems with up-to-date patches to avoid unauthorized access which cannot occur if the system is well protected and has the least amount of security vulnerabilities.
Finally, having a botnet attack detection and prevention system can help businesses monitor system for such attacks in real time while leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to continue improving the detection process.