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Many of us have heard all about identity and financial theft. We have all thought about it, however briefly. Some of us have also taken steps to secure our Internet-enabled devices. But theft isn’t the only thing to worry about. Once a hacker gets into your system, he can take control of it. Any computer or device controlled by a hacker becomes part of the hacker botnet.
What is a Hacker Botnet?
A hacker botnet is a group of Internet enabled devices that are controlled by the hacker. The hacker often has root access to the devices – computers, mobile phones, tablets, etc. The devices can send information to the hacker’s servers. The hacker can download programs and execute them on the devices. This hacker botnet is, in short, an army of zombified devices. The hacker can do anything with each of the controlled systems individually, and collectively.
How Does a Device Become Part of a Hacker Botnet?
Hackers develop or buy malware that is built to gain control of Internet enabled devices. They also develop sophisticated techniques of infecting devices. Most malware can only be activated if a user allows it, but some can be downloaded just by visiting a website that carries the malware. Some malware is hidden in popular software that users download and install all the time. This software can be games, antivirus programs, useful apps, and the like.
Once a device is infected with the malware, the hacker gains a level of control. With that access, the hacker can often pull information from the device. This first step is what allows identity theft, and sometimes also financial theft. The hacker then proceeds to elicit additional information through the system or by contacting the user. The hacker can use social engineering techniques to tempt the user to visit malware pages. Sometimes the hacker gets enough control on the first try to directly command the device to download and install additional malware. The ultimate goal is to gain full control of the device. With full control, the hacker can use the device to attack other users. These users will be added to the hacker botnet.
As part of a hacker botnet, your device will be a weapon. This weapon will first be used against your family, friends, coworkers, and other people you interact with. A mobile phone, for example, gives the hacker access to all your phone contacts, instant messaging contacts, email contacts, and any other contacts on applications like calendars. When your contacts are infected, they will be used against their contacts, and so on. The hacker botnet just keeps growing.
Avoid Becoming Part of a Hacker Botnet
There is no end to the cycle of device infection and control leading up to recruitment into a hacker botnet. One big reason why cybercrime is so prevalent is because of the phenomenon of hacker botnets. Every Internet enabled device on the planet is a potential recruit for a hacker botnet. The way to stop the cycle from happening is to lock them out of your device.
Keeping hackers out of your devices is simple if you know how to avoid malware. First, make sure you have good antivirus software installed. Install updates as soon as they are available. Next, make sure you use a good browser that has defense against malware. Update it often as well. Then check your firewall. The settings should allow only specified software to run and install. This secures your device from intrusion.
It is a different story to stay safe when you are out there browsing the Internet. Common sense tells us to stay away from unknown websites. This is no different than staying away from unknown neighborhoods or establishments in a city known to be dangerous. We are taught as children to refuse gifts from strangers, even when they claim to be friends. So don’t open emails or links from people whose identities you cannot verify. And don’t install unverified software. This is like eating or drinking something offered by a stranger. Resist the temptation of free apps.
Hide IP Addresses with a VPN
Despite these precautions, sophisticated hackers have so many ways of sneaking past our defenses. They pick up bits and pieces of personal information from your IP address, online activities, and data stream. They cook up believable stories based on those details. We often fall for their tricks. The final touch to Internet security is a VPN. The VPN will hide your IP address by giving you one from their secure servers. The trail will end at the server, so your location and other IP details are safe. With a different IP address, your online activities cannot be connected with your real IP address. So the hacker can’t use any of that information on you because he won’t find you. The VPN will encrypt your traffic and data to prevent any personal details from leaking out through the data stream. VPNs finally help secure you from malware that tries to find you because the server will never allow it to get through.
Keep yourself, your family, friends, and all other people you communicate with safe from hackers. Access the Internet through a private tunnel that protects your identity and device. Get your contacts on a VPN as well so that your data cannot be stolen from them. After all, they could get infected first, and you would be the next victim. If they have your data, you are vulnerable.