Botnet: An uprising cyber doom

To introduce you to the world of Botnets, let me start with a simple example of a spread of disease. The spread of swine flu was so much hyped and criticised. Some critics even went to the length of describing it as ‘now the swines will rule over humans’. Funny as it may sound, but something like that is eventually on the brink of occurrence…

Let us replace that swine flu virus with a Botnet and humans with the PC’s that we use, and then perhaps the statement of that critic might just be the disheartening truth. Coming to the point, Botnets are autonomous programmes which occupy the victim’s computer and then use that same PC to send spam e-mails, or denial of service attacks, which mainly include distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS).

Botnets are actually built and programmed by programmers which are quite infamously known as “Botnet herders”, as malicious software and then sent in large numbers to PC’s all over the servers existing in the world, which then get distributed through these servers. After the Botnet acquires the PC, the PC then comes under the control of the Botnet herder and then, he can use that PC, according to his will, without any knowledge necessary from the original user.

The newer variation and generation of Botnets have just arrived crisp in market and is expected as the most threatening and impeccable version to be heard of yet. The main features of these newer generations are that they integrate within themselves very quickly and the possibility of locating a Botnet herder becomes very acute. Hence, it is even difficult to trace the owner, or the origin of Botnets. But the main petrifying feature of these Botnets is that they can easily detect anyone trailing or using trace of them and then DDoS to the very person or server, making them utterly impossible to track and catch.

There is always an end of every beginning, and so Botnets also have a range and period of life. After that, they get de-activated. It consequently depends on the Botnet herder, whether he wishes to continue with his Botnets or else de-activate them. But, mainly Botnets die out as a consequence of use of some rival company’s Botnets on the same server or PC.

Coming to the real world, the Botnets are so much widespread that the statistics alarmingly show that every fourth PC in the world having a net connection has been infected with a Botnet! Leading the attacks using Botnets is China, with 12% of attacks originating and claimed by their cyber force. Trailing behind is the US, with 9% of Botnet attacks. With the amount of cyber attackers present in China, the Botnet attacks are surely going to increase, that too, at a fiery pace.

But how can it be cyber doom? Recent studies reveal that the hinese government has been spreading and marketing software. +e to prevent children from using porn websites on their home and school, college PC’s. Researchers have reasons to believe that the software is actually a Botnet, which the government intends to spread in each and every PC, they own. After achieving that, speculations are that they may use all those PC’s to launch a globalised cyber attack!

The research has been going, on how to survive Botnet attacks, yet no one has been successful enough to make a breakthrough. The only possible way to stop them is to make your own Botnet and eradicate the bad ones. But, it is not everyone’s cup of tea. No special softwares, or techniques are being developed, and it would still take time to come in the market with something which can tackle it. More and more depth will be useful as we lie bare to the mercy of those Botnets, which might have infected our PC’s or are on the verge of doing so.

— The author is a city based ethical hacker and specialises in cyber crime investigations and forensics