How to combat malicious botnets?

Microsoft's attempt to stop Waledac

In today’s communications system, legitimate botnets are essential to the smooth running of services. These robo-software networks are indispensable for managing chat channels, or for offering us a wide range of services such as games or web indexing to explore the sheer volume of data.

But like any technology, if it falls into the wrong hands, the misuse of its functions can cause considerable problems. Also, most malicious BotNets are built from scratch by hackers by installing Trojans on user workstations. These networks are designed to generate attacks to overwhelm servers and paralyze websites, to spread malware such as viruses, to trigger abusive clicks on advertising sites, etc.

Waledac is one such malicious botnet. This network of zombie machines is particularly specialized in spam, according to IT security specialists. Once installed on your machine, it activates automatically. Once it has been activated, the botnet will mutate, acquiring new functions, for example. They are not easy to detect, as they are designed to conceal themselves and thus continue their action.

In recent days, Microsoft has been trying to eradicate Waledac. Based on a court ruling, Microsoft has temporarily closed domain names suspected of collaborating technically with Waledac. This temporary shutdown enabled Microsoft to destroy the links between the infected computers and Waledac’s decision-making and operational centers. But is this really Waledac’s downfall?

Experts have pointed out that, following Microsoft’s declaration of its operation, the number of spam messages worldwide has not fallen. Microsoft’s action did not physically remove the botnet from infected computers, and knowing the ability of botnets to evolve to continue to exist, it seems that Waledac is not living out its last days. Microsoft’s initiative has been welcomed by IT security professionals, who also stress the essential role of user prevention in curbing these botnets.

What can users do? Prevention involves simple, inexpensive measures. Machine protection software enables you to protect yourself from botnets by installing anti-virus and anti-spam software, … Users need to be aware of the problem and be more rigorous about managing updates, for example, or managing user rights by introducing passwords.

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