Attack Agents and Bots

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So, we gave you guys a pretty good overview about DDoS attacks and how they are carried out. In case you missed it, check out DDoS Part 1 and Part 2 here. One of the critical parts of a successful DDoS attack relies on bots or a botnet. Botnets are groups of zombie computers under the remote control of an attacker via a command and control server (C&C Server). These zombie computers are highly useful as they are used to carry out commands on a whim and can be used as the front line offense to stall any web server that an attacker wants. Here is a good list of uses of botnets, other than carrying out DDoS attacks:

  • Spamming
  • Sniffing traffic
  • Keylogging
  • Spreading malware
  • Installing ads

How Does a Botnet Work?

I know you’re probably asking yourself, “how does a botnet actually work?” Well, we’re here to tell you.

  1. First, a hacker sends out viruses, worms or malware to infect ordinary users’ computers, whose payload is a malicious application. This can help remotely control a computer and allow the attacker to communicate with the infected system.
  2. Next, the bot on the infected PC logs into a particular C&C server. The C&C server acts as a command center for the main attacker to launch commands to the botnet.
  3. Third, a spammer purchases the services of the botnet from the hacker. This actually happens fairly frequently, which contributes to the spreading or strengthening of the botnet.
  4. Lastly, the spammer provides the spam messages to the hacker, who instructs the compromised machines via the control panel on the web server, causing them to send out spam messages.

Botnets frequently use DNS to rally infected hosts, launch attacks, and update their call of duties. Essentially, we become zombie armies that are ready and willing to execute any command you give them. They become martyrs to a web server attack and are used specifically to shut down or freeze the target’s system. This can wreak havoc on any website — both large and small. It’s important to not fall victim to being a botnet without knowing. Also, it’s more important to not be attacked by these botnets. Stay safe and stay tuned for more updates from Cloudbric!

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