Cybercriminals are always creating new ways to attack and steal information from companies. Fortunately, people are always creating more powerful software to defend against hackers. Hackers and security companies are always in an arms race with each other.
Sometimes, hackers break into companies to steal information. They might steal credit card numbers or commit identity theft and take out loans in another person’s name. Some hackers also spy on companies.
Another thing hackers can do is shut down a company’s servers and demand money to end the attack. A company might face huge losses every day if they can’t use their computers. Don’t give the hackers any money if this ever happens to you. They will ask for more money, not leave you alone.
Hackers Use Botnets to Perform Attacks
A botnet is a string of computers or virtual machines that work together to perform a task. Botnets are not always or usually malicious. A company can use a botnet for a legitimate purpose, such as maintaining a social media site. Search engines find and rank websites using botnets.
Malicious botnets are powerful tools in the hands of hackers. A group of hackers can use a botnet to attack a bank or an e-commerce site. However, hackers that attempt to use botnets often fail. Common security software can defeat unsophisticated attacks and many sophisticated attacks.
Why Are Botnets Becoming More Dangerous?
As security software improves, hackers need more sophisticated tools to make successful attacks. Cybercriminals need to be one step ahead of the curve to have a chance against modern security systems.
Botnets Can Mimic Human Behaviour
An unsophisticated bot behaves like a bot and is easy for security software to detect. If it behaves very repetitively or comes from an IP address associated with bots, security software can easily block it. Security software will almost always prevent crude, unsophisticated bots from interacting with a site in any way.
However, sophisticated bots do not behave predictably. Instead, they behave as a legitimate human user will. There is no way to differentiate between an advanced bot and a real human user. Machine learning has made hackers more dangerous, as they have used it to build bots that can mimic humans.
Hackers Vary Their Techniques
The more commonly used a hacking technique is, the harder it is for security software to detect it. A botnet can use e-mails, file attachments, downloadable files, and other methods to break into a network. Each botnet has a separate structure, and some hackers can invent their own techniques to make their botnet harder to defend against.
Botnets Can Take Control of Your Computer and Use it Against Others
Hackers do not necessarily need a lot of computers or internet connections to run a successful botnet. They can hijack a computer and use it to attack other computers.
When you download the wrong file, they can take over and control your computer. They may then use your computer to attack other computers without you even knowing about it. Hackers are clever, but so are those that design the best security software.
When a Hacker Breaks Into One Account, They Can Break Into Others
If a hacker manages to break a single email account at your company, they may be able to use it to break into everything. You can use an e-mail account to request forgotten passwords, getting access to many of a person’s accounts.
A clever hacker can go from there to having access to most of the accounts at your company, making it easy for them to steal money. For this reason, security is very important, and you should teach your employees a little about hackers and security.
A hacker can use a low-tech method such as calling someone, pretending to work for the same company and asking for passwords. Tell your employees that no one will ever call them and ask for their password, that hackers ruin companies, and that they should notice suspicious behaviour.
Botnets help hackers break into accounts. Hackers can attempt a “credential stuffing attack” – spamming username and password combinations they illegally obtained. Since a person might use the same username/password on multiple sites, a hacker that knows a username and password combination might try it in many places.
Daring hackers can make a lot of money by breaking into systems, even if they might end up in prison. They can hack hospitals, bank accounts, e-commerce, and gaming websites. Hackers also steal people’s usernames and passwords and sell them on the dark web, so hackers can buy passwords to break into your accounts.
How Do Botnets Shut Down Servers?
One way is to infect a company’s computers with malware (or ransomware) that makes people unable to access their computers and displays a message demanding money.
Botnets can also shut down websites through fake internet traffic. Hackers can send a huge number of fake users to your site at once, slowing it to a crawl.
Often, security software can tell the difference between fake and real traffic, even if the hackers use fairly sophisticated methods. Bombarding servers with millions of emails works is an old trick that still works if the company’s security is poor. The intention of these attacks is also to get a company to pay money to end the attacks, with the attacks usually continuing if the company pays.
Some hackers use less obvious and less malicious methods to gain access to computers. For example, their malware might only annoy you with a lot of pop-up ads, and they might sell you “anti-malware” software to get rid of their malware.
How to Defend Against Botnets and Hackers
Thankfully, hackers tend to go after easy targets. If your company is protected by powerful security software, most hackers will leave it alone and go after weaker targets. Many companies don’t bother with strong, up-to-date antibot software, so hackers always have weakly defended targets to attack. However, having an effective anti-bot solution is essential because there is too big risk for your website to get attacked by a botnet.
While basic software that scans your computer for malware and viruses may be enough for an average person, a company needs better security. Invest in something that can protect you from sophisticated hackers, not only common malware and viruses. Educating your workers about using strong passwords and not opening files from email addresses they don’t recognize is also worth the investment.