Avoiding Botnets

Botnet is short for “Robot Network.” They are also known as “Zombie Armies”. A  botnet is a large network of computers infected with malware. Attackers try to gain unauthorized access to computers or computer networks and control botnets remotely to create and send spam, spread viruses, commit identity theft, and attack other networks and servers.

Attackers also try to infiltrate personal computers to add them to their Botnet by either sending malware-infected email messages or by directing victims to a malicious website. When you open an infected email message or click on such links, you may unknowingly add your computer to the Botnet.

How to protect yourself

  1. Protect your local area network (LAN)
    1. ​Do not activate your wireless network without encryption and password access control.
    2. Check periodically for unknown connections, and change the network password if you see any.
  2. Protect all personal devices
    1. On all your personal devices, keep anti-virus and anti-spyware software up-to-date, and activate Internet firewalls.
    2. Install and maintain automatic updates from trusted sources.
    3. Check for 'public' or 'shared' folders that may allow too much access to your personal computer.
  3. Protect email accounts
    1. Use a spam filter.
    2. Only open email messages from sources you know and trust.
    3. Exercise caution when opening emai messages, attachments, when downloading programs from the Internet, or when clicking on links.
    4. Periodically change your email account password.
  4. React fast if attacked
    1. Check the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team website for security updates and best practices.
    2. If you suspect a device is infected, bring it to a computer specialist to check for viruses, worms, spyware, and malware
    3. Do not do any online shopping, banking, or other actions on the affected devise that require the use of usernames, passwords, or other sensitive information.