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What is a bot?


What is a BOT?

"Bot", short for robot, is a software program that repeats, runs automatically, and performs predefined tasks. Bots often mimic or replace the behavior of human users. Because they are automated, they work much faster than human users. They can perform useful functions such as customer service or indexing search engines, as well as in the form of malware to maintain complete control over a computer.

Internet bots can also be referred to as spiders, search robots, or web bots.

Why do cybercriminals use bots?

1. To steal financial and personal information

Hackers can send phishing or other fraudulent attempts using botnets to convince consumers to give up their money. In addition, the bot may be able to collect information from infected machines and use it to steal credentials, obtain credits on the user's behalf, or perform purchases.

2. To attack legitimate web services

Using botnets, criminals can expose a legitimate service or network to DoS and DDoS attacks that generate heavy traffic. The congestion created can severely slow down the responsiveness of the company's service or network, or cause a complete shutdown of the company's service or network.

3. Obtaining money from victims

Groups that aim to harm a company or network generate revenue through DoS attacks by force ("either you pay or your site crashes") or indirectly. These groups include hackers with political agendas, as well as foreign military and intelligence agencies.

4. To monetize zombie and botnet systems

Cybercriminals can use their botnets to send spam, commit fraud, phishing, identity theft, or even rent them out to other criminals who want to attack legitimate websites and networks.

How to tell if your computer is infected with a bot

You can tell if your computer is part of a botnet by:

  1. Your computer keeps crashing for no identifiable reason.
  2. Applications that were previously seamless now run erratically.
  3. Programs that previously loaded quickly now open slowly.
  4. The computer takes a long time to shut down or does not shut down properly.
  5. Your internet access is very slow.
  6. Your browser has components that you haven't downloaded.
  7. In the Windows Task Manager, programs with encrypted names or descriptions appear.
  8. Changing the settings and no chance to undo it.
  9. Pop-ups and ads appear even if you do not use a web browser.
  10. When the device is idle, the fan starts to work at excessive speed.
  11. People saying they're getting email messages from you that you didn't actually send.
  12. You are unable to download operating system updates.

What to do if your computer is infected with a bot

If your computer is infected with bots, the most important issue should be to protect your data.

Here's what needs to be done:

1. Step: Disconnect your computer from the network as soon as possible. This can help prevent your sensitive information from being stolen while preventing your computer from being used to attack other networks.

2. Step: Move all your important or personal data to another computer or an external hard drive. Before you do this, make sure your data is free of malware.

3. Step: Reset your machine to factory settings (remember that this will solve the problem, but will also remove all your files and programs, delete drivers, as well as return all the settings of your computer to their defaults).

4. Step: Clean your computer using various security tools, or ask a professional to do so.

When it comes to bots and all other types of malware, remember that the best solution is to take precautions. That's why it's important to have cybersecurity apps installed on all your devices.

How to protect your computer from bots

The challenge consumers face in this sense is that bot attacks are being made on many online customer touchpoints, including websites, mobile applications and APIs. It is possible to protect your computer from bots, but it is necessary to be careful and know what to look out for.

Follow these steps to protect your systems from botnet leaks:

Install malware-blocking software

Use extensive malware blocking tools to protect your device. Cybersecurity applications such as Kaspersky Total Security block viruses and malware in real time and prevent hackers from taking control of your computer remotely. Make sure your antivirus and antispyware programs are set to update automatically.

Make sure all your software is up to date

Never ignore system updates. Check regularly for browser and operating system updates and patches.

Use strong passwords

A strong password is difficult to guess, and includes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.

Just click on links you trust

Only click on internet connections if you trust the source, open the emails. Downloading content from unknown sites or friends who don't use up-to-date protection and may be unknowingly passing infected files on to others presents common user risks.

Always be very wary of information or file download links from a person whose computer is not protected. Avoid using a flash drive or USB stick on an infected computer.

Avoid unreliable websites and ads

A common way for users to download malware bots is through interesting ads or download links they encounter while browsing websites. Be careful when downloading free software versions from unfamiliar websites, and never click on pop-up ads that claim that only they can improve your computer's performance or fix your virus problems themselves. In most cases, interaction with such pages provokes the installation of malware on your computer.

Install a firewall

A firewall can help prevent malicious attacks.

Use a bot manager

Organizations can stop malicious bots by using a bot administrator. Bot administrators can come as part of a web application security platform.

The bot manager can be used to allow the use of some bots but to prevent the use of bots that can harm the system. For this, a bot manager classifies all requests from both humans and good bots, as well as known malicious and unknown bots. Suspicious bot traffic is then removed from the site by the bot administrator.

Some basic bot management features also include IP rate-limiting and CAPTCHAs. While IP rate limiting limits the number of requests from the same address, CAPTCHAs often use a puzzle to separate robots from humans.

Remember, good bots are an important part of the internet infrastructure and perform many useful tasks. But bad bots are difficult to detect without an antivirus program because they are designed to hide well. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the risks caused by malicious bots and to always use good cybersecurity practices.

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