Viruses – Bot Nets

I’m going to side track a bit from the original map and explain a bit about what the different viruses are.

The first one on the list is something called a “BotNet”. It’s not necessarily a virus, but instead a concept that can play host to viruses or have been infected by them. If your computer has been infected with an attacker’s BotNet code, your computer is now part of a massive collection (Robot Network) of other infected computers to do pretty much anything the attacker wants.

The things the attacker can do with all of these computers are endless, from stealing information to coordinating cyber attacks. The list of the most common items is:

1. Using the computers to create a massive DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. This means that your infected computer sends out malformed packets of information that a website can’t understand and normally refuses. However when you do that 100,000 times 20 times a minute per computer, it can shut down an entire website.

2. Using the computers to distribute viruses, illegal material or other items. They can dynamically add software and files to your computer without your knowledge and use your computer to host them. Should an organization come after the hosts of the illegal files, they would be looking for YOUR computer, and not the attacker’s, and you would never know.

3. Using the computers to distribute spam. This is a lovely little trick that enables the attacker to send off countless messages to anyone in any application you use, including email, instant messages, and other social networking tools. This is used by more unscrupulous spamming companies (a step above just sending you pointless junk emails.)

4. Using the computers to access websites that the attackers are affiliated with. Sometimes, attackers create affiliate accounts with websites that will give them money if someone visits their website through the affiliate link. What a BotNet attacker can do then is have 100,000 computers access the website through the affiliate link they own and they make money for each computer that visits it, even if someone is not at the computer!