The word botnet is short for robot network, a group of internet-connected computers that have been infected by a malicious application. The malware allows a hacker to control the infected computers without alerting the computers’ owners. Since the infected computers are controlled remotely, they are known as bots, robots or zombies.
When a virus recruits an infected computer and converts it into a botnet, a criminal hacker is able to remotely control that computer, install other malware and access all the data on that computer. For example, the so-called Zeus botnet malware can collect your banking and login credentials and use them to impersonate you or take money from your account.
Mobile botnets give criminals some advantages over PC-based botnets. First, the devices attach to many different networks, including business networks, making them a good carrier for infecting other devices. Second, the devices can be controlled using text messages, which are small, efficient and always get delivered.
McAfee Labs points out:
Due to their wide choice of hardware, botnets can initiate more types of attacks (voice, video, GPS) and serve as launch pads for infections of other computers via any connection (PC, WiFi, Bluetooth, SD card, USB, etc.).
Keep your device from becoming part of a mobile botnet:
- Use antimalware, antivirus and antispyware on your mobile device.
- Often, botnets’ malware comes as part of an app, so only install apps from reputable app stores.
- Keep an eye on your monthly bill. If you start unexpectedly seeing a spike up in text messages received or data charges, call your carrier to investigate.
- Install Hotspot Shield VPN. Hotspot Shield VPN is a versatile internet security and privacy solution. In addition to protecting you from dangerous online threats, it also protects your privacy and enables you to access any blocked websites and content.
Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.