Computer Malware and Preventive Recommendations: Botnets

It’s often what we don’t know can hurt us the most…

That is the case when it comes to the effects of malware such as computer viruses, worms and Trojans.

Botnets are one of the fastest growing and the most dangerous threat on the Internet today. “Bot” stands for robot, which is a piece of software with some intelligence to perform a task and the “net” stands for network which is the collection of these individual bots under one controlling person called a bot herder.

The interesting thing is not all bots are bad, for example, intelligent software agents used in Microsoft Word or the ones used by search engine sites like Google are here to help the end user, whereas bots such as the Storm and Kragen botnet collection are here to disrupt end user activities.

The bots are small executable files that are very easy to spread. They can be spread through spam, music files located on file sharing systems, various Microsoft vulnerabilities that are not patched and host on a web site that pushes it to visitors in a technique call “drive-by download” (Very nasty and stealthy).

The thing that makes these bots so dangerous is their exponential growth factor. As more systems are infected, they also begin to scan to look for vulnerable system. Since additional computer systems use their recourses to recruit other systems, the growth can be enormous in a short period of time., an information security media company based in the Washington, D.C. metro area recommends the following:
* Use a Mac OS X based system or even a Linux-based system if possible, if not

1. Make sure you have security controls in place (eg. Firewall, Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware and IDS)
2. Make user they are licensed and updated regularly
3. Make sure you run them frequently or have them run at a time your computer will be on
4. Do not download free miscellaneous software from the Internet (eg. Screensavers and games)
5. Do not open attachments if you do not know from whom it is from or what the attachment is.
6. Just be smart

For more information on botnets, their effects and detailed recommendation to prevent and remove malware, check out

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