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Beware of Botnets

Beware of Botnets

Reading time: 3 minutes

Still lurking at a business near you

Botnets have been around for more than 20 years, and now that more small businesses are incorporating IoT and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) in their day-to-day operations, the damage they can inflict has gone up exponentially. These united mobs of computers have the power to hamper your bottom line, prompt customer angst, and deliver an ongoing series of frustrating, performance-altering problems. Most often, you won’t even realize the damage botnets are causing until it’s too late.

Botnets defined

A growing global problem, botnets are a collection of computerized devices under the control of a hacker. The network consists of computers that have been infected with malware that allows them to be remotely controlled. The botnet can then be used to send spam emails, transmit malware and viruses, initiate distributed denial-of-service attacks, and contribute to cybercrime, which can include snagging sensitive business data ranging from financial records to customer data.
Also called a zombie army—given their interconnected nature of hundreds, thousands, or sometimes even millions of computers—botnets are considered one of most significant threats in today’s digital universe, and their impact is only growing. It’s estimated that 43% of small business endpoint breaches are the result of botnets[1] a rise propelled in part by an ever-accelerating black market for botnets among cybercriminals eager to use the botnets for fraud, data theft, and other illicit, moneymaking schemes.
Botnets are a particular risk to small businesses, which often lack the resources and expertise to be as digitally vigilant as a large-scale company. Botnets have the potential to put your business functions and productivity at risk. They can:
  • Distribute malware throughout your network, inhibiting computers and compromising important business information
  • Test stolen login details on banking or e-commerce websites to grab personal or financial data
  • Withhold, or encrypt, captured information until a ransom is paid (In 2018 the FBI saw 1,493 ransomware victims and more than $3.6 million in losses)

5 steps to thwart botnets

Botnets are an undeniable and growing risk, but there are proactive steps you can take to minimize your risk of being a victim:
  1. Use a different password for each account
  2. Install effective anti-malware software on your computer, and keep the software active and up-to-date
  3. Avoid downloading and running pirated software
  4. Incorporate biometric security across your company
  5. Use professional services to strengthen protection or rectify problems.

Keeping botnets at bay

Make no mistake, the threats posed by botnets are real and the potential consequences of a botnet attack can stymie your business’ ability to accomplish its goals. However, by taking a few simple, proactive steps, you can minimize your risk of being a victim and focus on your business’s performance—not crippling computer problems.
HP Care Packs offer additional protection to enhance and extend protection on your computers, and HP Smartfriend Services delivers both one-time and/or 24/7 support for software problems on any device.
[1] PrimePay, 23 cybersecurity stats your business needs to know

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