Botnet attacks continue to grow, including a major increase in mobile phone attacks

QUOTE: Botnets weren’t always malicious. According to a report by Symantec called The Evolution of IRC Bots, botnets were originally designed to automate basic tasks on IRC and allowed IRC operators to link instances of the bot together and manage its power. Eventually, botnets were used to perform DoS attacks and other malicious activities as computer users realized the potential collective power botnets had.

 Mobile Botnets on the Rise – Although not as prevalent as their computer counterparts, mobile botnets have been on the rise, with the rate of infections of mobile devices growing exponentially. Mobile malware has passed the point of simple hidden SMS fraud. According to Henderson, researchers are finding mobile malicious apps that are extensions of popular computer botnet software. For example, a mobile version of the Zeus bot intercepts mobile banking logins and sends the credentials back to its owners. This provides the owners with another means of stealing funds from victims.

Enjoy Social Networking? So Do Botnets – Now that botnets have upgraded to the affiliate model of spreading malware, social networks have become another means of infection and it can happen to anyone. Once a botnet controls your computer, it’s a simple matter for the owner to post a malicious link on your social networking account.

Botnet defenses – In order to protect a mobile device, Henderson recommends that a user try out mobile antivirus, especially those who own Android devices. He also advises that users be cautious when installing third party apps, including iOS users who made the decision to jailbreak their phone. For non-mobile devices, Henderson suggests that users keep their software up-to-date at all times and uninstall unnecessary applications, such as Java and Flash. Botnet and malware authors take advantage of every vulnerable moment, don’t get caught off-guard.