The number of botnets on the internet is on the rise, and they don’t show signs of slowing down. The programs used to turn a PC into a zombie for a “botnet” is well-hidden, and in most cases, the user will not even know that your PC is part of a botnet.
Figures from the Trend Micro show that as many as 100 million computers may be infected worldwide.
A botnet is a group of computers that are connected with each other to perform various types of attacks on the internet. The majority of botnets spreads and grows through a Trojan or a virus.
A successful botnet can consist of thousands of computers, known as zombies, all over the internet. In most cases, the owners of the computers have no idea that they are part of a criminal network that is being used for illegal attacks of various kinds.
The applications and tools that are used to build a botnet are very sophisticated and are designed to bypass many of the security programs available on the market. However, there are some tricks and tools you can use to check if your PC is infected and a part of such an underground network.
Check Your Network Activity
A botnet is dependent on your internet and user connection to perform various attacks against computers or users on the internet. The first thing you should do is to check whether there are suspicious internet activities on your PC.
- Close all the programs on your PC first. Make sure that all applications that normally use the internet such as email and chat programs are shut down.
- Start Task Manager by entering Control-Alt-Delete on your keyboard.
- Click on the tab called Network
- Check to see if there is activity on your network. Are you sure that you have closed all programs that could be using the internet? If you have, the activity should remain at between 0 percent and 0.5 percent. Windows may occasionally use the internet, for example, to look for updates.
Useful Free Tools
If it turns out that there is massive activity on your internet connection despite closing all internet-dependent programs, you are probably caught in a botnet. In order to get to the bottom of the matter, you should try these free programs that look for botnet applications on your PC.
- Bothunter from SRI International
- Security Essentials and/or Malicious Software Removal Tool from Microsoft
- Spyboy Search and Destroy
Feel free to try other applications to be completely sure that hackers aren’t breathing down on your neck! Certain programs are better than others at detecting various botnet codes, and there are paid security tools out there that can really take your PC and internet security to a whole new level.
It is also important that you take precautionary measures:
- Always keep your antivirus/firewall software updated and running.
- Make sure that your PC – the browser and operating system is up-to-date to patch-up security holes.
- And always be careful when visiting unknown websites.
- Botnet applications are usually classified as worms and Trojans. Regularly scanning your PC with a good security program can go a long way.
Follow this guide closely, and keep your PC safe from cyber-criminals.