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(also robot network, bot network)

Botnet definition

A botnet is a network of infected devices (zombies) controlled without their owners’ knowledge to carry out coordinated cyber attacks. Botnets are often responsible for DDoS attacks, spam campaigns, and crypto-mining operations using the victims’ processing power.

Real botnet examples

2000: The Earthlink spammer, the first botnet to gain notoriety, used the Earthlink network to spam 1,250,000 phishing emails in under a year.

2016: The Mirai botnet, created by college students for an edge in Minecraft, caused a number of massive DDoS attacks that restricted internet access in certain US areas.

Stopping a botnet

  • Use a reputable antivirus and regularly update it
  • Don’t click suspicious links or attachments
  • Keep your OS up to date

Watch it explained: Botnet

Further reading

Ultimate digital security