Zombie Computer: Don’t be a zombie in a botnet

If a cybercriminal makes a successful virus or malware attack on your computer or mobile device, he may turn it into what we call a“zombie computer” (or zombie). He can do it without your knowing it because your computer will look perfectly normal to you. But behind the scenes the hacker has just enlisted your machine into an army of zombie computers meant to generate spam and phishing emails, push malware like keyloggers, Trojan horses and FAKEAV, and attack websites through distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Once your system has been turned into a zombie it’s helping to make the Internet a more dangerous place. Antivirus and anti-malware software helps protect you (and everyone on the Internet) by protecting against attacks that turn computers like yours into zombies. Security software products can also tell if your system is already infected with the malware that cybercriminals use to make and control zombies and remove it.

  • Cybercriminals may use Skype and other instant messaging (IM) applications to spread malware that transforms computers into zombie computers.

Why do we call these “zombies?” Zombies are a hot item these days. The idea that someone you know and trust can be turned into something evil by someone or something else is scary. All the more so since many times you can’t tell that your best friend has been turned evil until it’s too late.

It’s much the same with computers and mobile devices. Many times, after a successful virus or malware attack, your system may look normal to you but not be. It may be doing evil things under the control of someone or something else. It may be a zombie. And just like a zombie, one way you can tell this has happened is that your computer is slow and lumbering.

Cybercriminals turn your trusted computer into a zombie by planting a special program on it called a “bot.” This bot allows your attacker to take control of your computer and do pretty much whatever they want—and all without you even knowing it.

To top it off, these cybercriminals have learned how to herd zombies into networks of thousands if not millions of zombie computers to create “botnets.” Botnets act as a zombie hoard manipulated by criminals (sometimes called a“bot herder” or “bot master”). With the power of all these zombie computers at their command, bot masters can send millions of pieces of spam, crash major websites, push malware to other computers and even add more zombies to their evil network with the click of just one button.

Because of how they can be herded into botnets, zombie computers are a major problem on the Internet. And if your computer is a zombie, that means you’re part of that problem.

So… what to do? The way you protect your system from being part of a botnet is to run a good security solution. Up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software help keep your computer from being made a zombie in a botnet by protecting you from the initial virus or malware attack, and removing bots when they’re detected.

Don’t let yourself be part of someone’s evil zombie army. Run a reputable antivirus software on all your devices and help keep the Internet safer for everyone.

Think your computer might be a zombie?

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