Healthcare organizations are required to protect patients' data in order to maintain HIPPA compliance. Awareness of the ways bot herders, the hackers who control botnets, can use covered entities' computers and electronic devices to commit cybercrimes, is an essential component of cybersecurity.
What is a botnet?
"Botnet" is short for "bot network," which is a system of linked computers and electronic devices that a hacker has created using malware. The hacker controls the botnet from a remote location. The computers in the botnet are sometimes called "zombies" because they act without their owners being aware of what is going on.
How does a hacker create a botnet?
Hackers create botnets by installing malware on a targeted computer or device. The malware then links the infected device to the botnet's command and control center, which the hacker uses to tell the computers in the botnet what to do.
What do hackers do with the botnets they create?
Hackers use botnets for a variety of nefarious purposes. These purposes include:
- Launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, such as the recent Russian cyberattacks on Ukraine government websites
- Sending spam
- Mining bitcoin
- Stealing data, such as patients' protected health information (PHI)
- Installing ransomware
- Committing click or advertising fraud
- Renting botnets to other cybercriminals
How to protect your organization against botnets
Since botnets begin with the installation of malware on computers and devices, the first step in protecting your organization is preventing malware from infecting your systems.
Security awareness training for employees, multi-factor authentication, antivirus software, secure offline backup, and email security software such as Paubox Email Suite Plus are essential tools for ensuring that computers and devices do not become part of a botnet via malware infection.
Paubox Email Suite Plus includes robust inbound email security to stop malicious emails from reaching employees' email inboxes. Its Zero Trust Email feature adds an extra layer of protection by requiring additional authentication of each incoming email message. This makes it very difficult for hackers to impersonate authentic mail servers or install botnet malware on your computers.