Hello and welcome back to the Managed Services Blog! Today’s topic is an interesting one: what’s the connection between fake profiles and botnets? Of course, the most obvious connection is that they both can and are being used for malicious intents and purposes by criminals, hacktivists, and phishers – but is there something deeper? We will find out today.
While the concept of a fake profile can be quickly understood, an explanation of a botnet and its capabilities might be in order though. Basically, a botnet is comprised of hacked devices, usually infected with malware, and a command and control (C&C) server, which dictates the behavior of the botnet. Botnets can be comprised of hundreds and thousands of devices, which are used for many deeds, legal and illegal. Legal uses of botnets include research programs by security firms and development teams, to test the durability and security of products. Illegal uses include DDoS attacks and email spam.
To see how a botnet works, let’s use a DDoS attack as an example. The way any website works normally is that the site is hosted on a web server, and users send requests to the server to display the site on the user’s device/computer. Normally, these web servers have limits to the amount of requests they can take. To execute a DDoS attack, hackers would simply use the C&C server to activate the botnet, which would pummel the web server with requests, forcing it to shut down due to overloading. Any websites hosted on the web server go down with it.
So, what’s the connection? Well, if we examine the previous paragraphs, it can be noticed that, in order for botnets to take a hold of a device or computer, the target has to be infected with malware. Now, as it has been seen, malware can be implanted in a device through various means, like phishing email attachments, and malicious links in emails and posts from fake social media accounts. Once a user clicks on the link and gets their device/computer infected, all the hacker on the other end has to do is connect it to an existing botnet, which can be used, as stated above, for DDoS attacks, email spam campaigns, and more.
And with that, that’s the conclusion of another edition of the Managed Blog. Until the next post, take care and stay Cyber Safe.