A bot is a computer program that automatically and independently performs certain tasks. If several bots connect with each other, a botnet is created. Although technically neutral, botnets are usually set up between malware-infected computers and used by cyber criminals, without the knowledge of computer owners.

What does the term “botnets” mean in detail?

  • Botnets use the resources of outside computers for criminal purposes
  • Botnets are used, among other things, to send spam, for DDoS attacks or for phishing attacks
  • In principle, any computer can be connected to a botnet without the knowledge of its owner or user.
  • Because of broadband Internet and flat rates, such abuse of computers is barely noticeable and possible around the clock.
  • It is estimated that up to 25% of computers worldwide are connected to botnets.
  • The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) reports that up to 39,000 infections on German systems were reported daily to the BSI in the first half of 2016. The unknown number of infections is probably much higher.
  • Botnets are cracked again and again, to which more than 10,000 computers were connected.

Where do I encounter botnets in everyday work?

You may encounter a bot while trying to infiltrate your corporate network, for example, via an email with an infected attachment or an infected download. The suspicious email may also have been sent to your company via a botnet. If your company's computers are already connected to a botnet, you will notice very little about it in your daily work routine. If you have suspicions, pass them on to your administrator, immediately.

What can I do to improve my safety?

There are many measures that can reduce cyber risks and protect your company's computers
from becoming part of a botnet. These especially include:

  • Critical handling of emails and included links and attachments
  • Critical handling of downloads
  • A firewall that monitors outgoing traffic
  • Keeping operating systems and all software up-to-date via updates
  • Check the system regularly with current virus scanners

Detailed information

Information from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) about botnets.

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