A botnet is a group of computers that have been compromised by rogue software. Typically, a botnet will comprise many hundreds or even thousands of machines and these computers will be at the mercy of whomever controls the botnet.
Nowadays a botnet will almost certainly be controlled by more than one person, typically an organised criminal gang, who will be looking to make money from it in one or more different ways. A botnet can be a money spinner either directly, via stealing personal deals or extortion rackets, or indirectly, by being available to hire to other criminal groups.
Is my computer part of a botnet?
There are a few different signs you can look out for in order to determine whether your computer may be part of a botnet –
- Certain aspects of your operating system suddenly stop working
- You suddenly become infected with some form of malware
- Your computer becomes much slower than normal
- The lights on your modem indicate activity when you are not connected to the internet
Getting out of a botnet
If you believe that your computer may be part of a botnet then the following steps may offer a solution to you –
- Make sure you have good internet security software installed so that you are protected against the common threats of viruses, spam, spyware and have a firewall
- Run a full scan of your computer system
- Quarantine and then delete any malware that the program identifies as these malicious pieces of code are likely to be the culprits
- Go through your Control Panel to Add/Remove Programs and remove any recently added programs that you are not 100% certain and secure as one of these may have carried the botnet code with it
Staying out of a botnet
You are likely to find your way into a botnet through poor surfing habits or infected emails. Therefore you want to ensure that you have good quality security software installed and also that you block as much spam as possible from entering your inbox.
You can accomplish both of these objectives by installing a highly recommended program such as ESET Smart Security 4 which provides protection against all sorts of malware as well as unwanted spam emails which may include unwelcome payloads.