What are Bots?
Bots are Internet robots also known as crawlers, spiders, and web bots. They are automated programs developed for performing repetitive tasks. With the computing power available to programmers, bots have been developed to execute tasks at extremely high speeds, unbelievable for a real human to do the same task. Modern bots are programmed with both good or malicious intents.
One good way in which bots are used is to gather information. Bots in such guises are called web crawlers. Another “good” use is automatic interaction with instant relay chat and instant messaging. Bots are also used for dynamic interaction with websites.
Malware bots help in taking complete control over a computer. Usually, bots are used to infect huge numbers of computers. These computers produce a “botnet,” or a bot network. Malicious bots have been defined as self-propagating malware capable of infecting its host and connecting back to a central server(s). The server operates as a “command and control center” for a botnet, or a network of compromised computers and other similar devices. Besides having the ability to self-propagate, malicious bots can also:
- Relay spam
- Launch DoS attacks
- Gather passwords
- Log keystrokes
- Obtain financial information
- Capture and examine packets
- Open back doors on the infected computer
- Exploit back doors opened by worms and viruses
Detections of Botnet Malware
Botnet identification can be problematic as bots have been designed to work without a user’s permission. However, there are a few basic signs that a PC could be contaminated with a botnet infection. While these side effects are often demonstrative of bot contaminations, a few of them can also be indications of malware diseases or system issues.
- Issues with Internet access
- Spikes in traffic
- Association endeavors with known C&C servers
- High friendly SMTP traffic (because of sending spam)
- Surprising popups (because of clickfraud action)
- Slowing your system/high CPU utilization
- Outbound messages that were not sent by the users
- IRC traffic (bot aces and botnets utilize IRC for correspondences)
How to Prevent Malicious Bots from Infecting a System:
- Regular backup: Keep your data safe by maintaining regular and periodical backups in case your system gets infected by a virus or any other infection. You should always have a regular backup of important files on an external hard drive or a cloud drive.
- Enable your popup blocker: ads and pop-ups in websites are the most adoptable tactic employed by cybercriminals or developers with the key intention to spread malicious programs. Hence, avoid clicking software offers, pop-ups, uncertain sites etc.
- Regularly update your Windows: To avoid botnet infections, you should always keep your system updated via automatic windows update. This will help you to keep your device free from virus.
- Third-party installation: Try to prevent freeware download websites as they generally install bundled of software with any installer or stub file.
Install antivirus: An antivirus software like the one of Comodo will help in efficient virus removal and provide excellent virus protection that will help prevent bot attacks.
How to Clean Up an Infected Computer?
Data protection is the most important thing you will have to do if your computer is already infected by bots. Try to immediately disconnect the computer from the network. This step will stop the theft of sensitive data. It will also prevent your computer from being used to attack other networks. Next, move all personal and vital data to external hard drive or another computer. However, make sure that this external hard drive and computer are free from malware. After completing this step, you will have to clean your computer with the help of assorted security tools, or getting the help of a professional who could work on the device.
Prevention is always considered to be the best medicine in regard to bots and all other malware. Hence, stay up to date with your software, utilize anti-malware techniques to the fullest extent, and never click on anything suspicious.