Beware The Botnet

What’s a Botnet?

It used to be that a botnet was simply a program used by technologically-advanced criminals to send spam, perform Internet attacks and spread spyware. Unfortunately, botnets have now become a playground for misguided delinquents, depraved rejects and, of course, identity theft fiends.

A New World

In the past, the only way to put a botnet to work for you was to make one from scratch, and this wasn’t something easily accomplished by the average computer user. However, thanks to some unscrupulous entrepreneurs botnets are now accessible by anyone with a credit card. Want to gain control of someone’s PC? Simply buy a botnet kit, program it to do what you want it to do and unleash it on the victim of your choice. Their computer and all of the information on it is yours for the taking. Doesn’t sound like a sweet bedtime story to tell your children, does it?

How Common Is It?

Well, considering there are literally hundreds of botnet kits for sale on the Web, it seems to be a lucrative, albeit dishonest, business. A criminal wanting to send forth a botnet simply orders a kit (they range in price from about thirty bucks to five-hundred dollars) and follows simple instructions to put it together. It’s more common than you may think.

What Can It Do?

In addition to stealing your identity, a botnet can steal your computer, in a manner of speaking. The person who unleashed the botnet on your computer can then use your computer to send spam and perform other illegal activities. Not a pretty scenario.

What Can You Do?

You can take measures to protect yourself from a botnet. First, don’t visit unknown websites and don’t click on links contained in emails sent from unknown users. Also make sure you never open attachments contained in unsolicited emails. You may also want to use an Internet browser like Firefox since this browser has less tendency to be a target of hacker attacks.

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