Botnet Definition

A group of compromised computers controlled by a central authority, usually a hacker

A botnet is a collection of independent computers that have each been hacked by a cyber criminal who uses them as a group to carry out many malicious attacks over the Internet. In a botnet, each computer is remotely controlled by a hacker. Surprisingly, the owner is usually completely unaware that the computer has been compromised and is a part of a botnet.

Botnets are one of the most sophisticated methods of cyber crime. Cyber criminals use botnets for a wide range of activities, such as sending spam messages, spreading viruses, launching denial-of-service attacks and supporting illegal websites. The main goal of carrying out such an attack is for financial gain, which is usually proportional to the size of the botnet.

Because computers in a botnet follow the orders of their hacker, they are sometimes called “zombie” machines and the criminal is called a botherder or botmaster. Some botnets might have a few hundred computers, while others may have thousands or even a million computers.

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