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What is a Botnet? How to effectively detect and prevent it

Latest Update: 23/05/2024

What is a Botnet? How to effectively detect and prevent it

The trend of using botnets to carry out DDoS attacks by hackers is dramatically increasing, leading to a sudden surge in website traffic and overwhelming servers, causing significant losses for businesses. How can we prevent Botnet attacks? Let’s explore with VNETWORK.

What is a Botnet? Overview of Botnets and DDoS Botnets

Botnet is defined as a network of compromised computer devices that are infected with malicious software and controlled remotely by hackers. A botnet can consist of hundreds of thousands or even millions of computers. Each individual compromised device, or “bot,” serves as a tool to execute tasks like distributing malware, viruses, and conducting DDoS attacks.

The most common form of Botnet attack is DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, characterized by their sophisticated techniques and large-scale impact. In this type of attack, attackers use a multitude of bots to flood a target with a high volume of access requests, overwhelming the system, consuming all available bandwidth, and rendering network services inoperable.

Furthermore, DDoS botnets disrupt the online services of businesses, including online stores, online banking, and various mobile applications. This leads to usability issues and creates a poor experience for users, significantly impacting the reputation and revenue of the affected businesses.

The Attack Form of DDoS Botnets

DDoS botnets are regarded as one of the most challenging attack forms to deal with due to their distributed technique, where thousands or even millions of infected computers can simultaneously participate in an attack. This very characteristic also contributes to the difficulty in mitigating and preventing DDoS botnet attacks. Consequently, preventing such attacks has become a substantial challenge for cybersecurity experts and system administrators.

Cách thức tấn công DDoS BotnetDDoS Botnet attack method

Botnets are installed and remain inactive within computers, awaiting commands from the Bot Herder, who is the leader of the DDoS Botnet attack, to strike at designated targets. With a Botnet system ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of computers, it is referred to as a “Bots network.” This term commonly signifies a network of computers infected with malicious Bot software.

Two prevalent forms of DDoS Botnet attacks today are TCP SYN and UDP floods. To enhance the attack capability, hackers often combine these techniques with the usage of HTTP floods, also known as spidering, to target objects on websites. This leads to the congestion of system operations or network services disruption.

Consequences of DDoS Botnet Attacks on Enterprises

DDoS Botnets pose a significant and potentially risk to the business operations of enterprises, including:

Service interruptions

When under a botnet attack, a system faces the pressure from a lot of requests, leading to overload and an inability to process data. This results in a state of suspension and operational cessation. During such instances, users are unable to access applications, websites, services, or network resources as they normally would, directly impacting their user experience.

The duration of downtime can extend from minutes to several hours, or even multiple days, contingent on the intensity of the botnet attack and the responsiveness of the security system. Throughout the downtime, business operations and services of enterprises are disrupted, leading to revenue losses and a severe impact to the reputation of enterprises.

System Takeover

When a botnet infiltrates a system of enterprises, the computers and devices connected to the network become part of the botnet and are remotely controlled by hackers. This is an extremely alarming situation, as the computers and devices within the system are no longer under the control and management of the enterprise. Instead, they become “puppets” operating entirely under the remote control of the hacker.

Consequently, the computers and devices within the botnet are exploited to carry out malicious activities without being detected or intervened by users. These activities may include spreading malware, launching DDoS attacks, unauthorized access, and stealing data and information from enterprises.

The intrusion of a botnet jeopardizes the privacy, security, and integrity of information, resulting in significant damage to data, reputation, and operations of enterprises.

Financial Impacts

Financial loss stands as one of the significant impacts of botnet attacks on enterprises. When targeted by a botnet attack, enterprises must address substantial costs to manage the situation and restore normalcy.

Additionally, if the system is attacked and temporarily shut down, it can lead to missed business chances and have a notable effect on the overall productivity of the enterprise. This not only directly impacts financial health of enterprises but also diminishes its reputation and reduces customer trust.

To ensure such attacks do not happen again, enterprises need to invest in upgrading security and implementing preventive measures, which can come with substantial costs. Additionally, conducting regular security checks and updating systems to ensure safety also requires a certain level of investment from the enterprise side.

Vulnerabilities in Data and Information Security

When a botnet infiltrates a system, critical and highly secured information such as customer personal data, financial records, project details, business strategies, and internal management documents all face the risk of being exposed or stolen.

The consequences of data and information leakage can include unauthorized exploitation and illegal use of the information by hackers, leading to customer distrust. Moreover, the exposure of financial information and business strategies can limit the competitive edge of enterprises, posing a high risk of market loss.

Furthermore, the loss of essential data and information can also lead to legal issues and personal data protection regulations. Businesses might face penalties under data security regulations and be required to compensate for the impact of such breaches.

Effective ways to prevent DDoS Botnet

Applying Firewalls and Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS)

Firewalls function as a virtual barrier between the internal network and the public network, controlling and monitoring network traffic passing through. When a network packet arrives at the system, the firewall scans it and determines whether it is valid and safe. If the packet is deemed untrustworthy or poses a threat, the firewall prevents that packet from accessing the system.

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) are two commonly used intrusion prevention technologies in network and security systems. Specifically, IDS operates by monitoring network traffic and system data to detect abnormal behaviors or signs of attacks from botnets. However, the advantage of IDS is that it doesn’t interfere with network traffic but rather provides alerts to system administrators when an issue is detected.

On the other hand, IPS is an upgraded version of IDS. In addition to detecting intrusion behaviors, it also has the ability to automatically intervene and respond. When IPS identifies a botnet attack, it can automatically counteract the attack by configuring the firewall or disconnecting from the source of the attack. This enhances automation and aids in preventing botnet attacks.

Utilizing Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) Solutions

WAAP comprises advanced solutions designed to safeguard web applications and APIs against SQL injection, XSS, and API attacks. Additionally, WAAP assists businesses in defending against DDoS botnet attacks by controlling access traffic and identifying abnormal behaviors, WAAP minimizes the impact of attacks on the system and maintains the operational readiness of the application. Furthermore, this solution can identify and block invalid behaviors from both users and botnets, while also supporting in detecting emerging attack methods.

Utilizing Content Delivery Network (CDN) Servers

CDN (Content Delivery Network) stands as a reliable solution to counter botnets. CDN servers function by distributing the load from the origin server to numerous edge servers across the globe, reducing the burden on the origin server and enhancing the system’s load-bearing capacity. This helps mitigate the potential of DDoS attacks from botnets. As attack traffic pours in, CDNs can distribute the access flow to nearby high-performance Points of Presence (POPs), easing the pressure on servers and maintaining normal system functionality.

CDN servers also offer analytical and network traffic monitoring tools, aiding in the timely detection and blocking of suspicious botnet activities. These tools monitor unusual behaviors, such as heavy traffic from the same IP address or invalid requests from unidentified devices. This enables the identification and prevention of botnet attacks.

>> Learn more: What is CDN and 6 Key Benefits of CDN Technology

Network Traffic Monitoring

Network traffic monitoring is one of the effective methods to detect suspicious activities within a system. When implementing network traffic monitoring, tools and systems are used to monitor, collect, and analyze real-time network traffic. System network activities are closely managed to swiftly identify anomalies. In addition, alert signs may include sudden surges in network traffic, traffic from unidentified IP addresses, or an excessive number of requests from a single source. This facilitates rapid response and proactive action against botnet attacks before they cause significant harm to the system.

VNIS prevents Botnets with AI Load Balancing Technology

Quy trình chống Botnet

Botnet prevention model

VNIS is a comprehensive website security solution designed for businesses, built upon Cloud WAF (Web Application Firewall) and AI Load Balancing technology. By integrating multiple CDNs to form a vast multi-CDN network, the VNIS system ensures the stability of websites even during sudden spikes in traffic.

The fusion of over 2,300 Points of Presence (PoP) and a capacity of 2,600 Tbps from allied CDNs empowers the VNIS system to prevent global DDoS attacks. When one CDN is under attack, the AI load balancing system automatically switches to a stronger CDN, optimizing transmission performance and thwarting overwhelming traffic attacks like those from botnets.

If you are interested in experiencing the DDoS Botnet protection solution from VNETWORK, please contact us at Hotline: (028) 7306 8789 or email us at contact@vnetwork.vn or sales@vnetwork.vn for consultation and support.

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