A botnet is a collection of computers (or devices like smartphones) connected to the internet that are controlled by a third party for malicious purposes. This control is usually gained when the end user executes malicious software on their system and, in doing so, grants access to the botnet’s operator.
Botnets are commonly used for denial of service attacks (wherein thousands of computers send requests to a single domain or server in an attempt to take it offline), distribution of Spam email (in order to defeat anti-spam detection algorithms by sending the emails from a wide variety of sources), and click fraud (the user’s computer is employed to falsely generate web site traffic to exploit advertising payment systems).
The best defense against your computer being absorbed into a botnet is to keep your operating system and anti-virus software up to date. For more information on these topics check out the following How-To Geek articles:
- By Jason Fitzpatrick on 01/24/13