A BotNet is a (usually) large number of computers (Apple Mac’s, Linux PC’s, Windows PC’s, Android Phones…) which are infected by software that lets a remote user perform some action. Often these are attackes on website. For instance is 5 million computer all attempt to perform 10 searches on Amazon.com, Amazon.com will appear off-line because it is so busy responding to these automated requests.
Below is a good brief description of the history and future of botnets:
“Looking at the evolution of the bot threat, the first bot, “GMBot”, was not malicious. In fact, it was created in the late 1980s to emulate a live person in Internet Relay Chat (IRC) sessions.
However, around 1999 bots emerged that were designed with harmful intentions. Thereafter, bots grew more sophisticated, and in some cases, were commercialized as products. The Zeus bot of 2006, for example, originally sold for several thousand dollars. In mid-2011, source code for the Zeus and SpyEye botnet kits was leaked, making these powerful botnet creators available to practically anyone that wants to establish their own botnet.
Today, botnets are primarily used as a backdoor into your enterprise. Once inside, hackers operate in silence and stay under the radar to steal as much information as possible before their presence is detected. Unfortunately, because bots are so stealthy, many companies aren’t aware of when their computers have been infected and security teams often lack the proper visibility into the threats that botnets create.
In the coming years, botnets will continue to evolve using a combination of social engineering, zero-day exploits, as well as the proliferation of mobile computing and social networking.
In the past, it was assumed that most of the popular botnets were running on Windows machines, this is no longer true today. Linux and Mac systems are not immune. New botnet variants are cross-platform and the industry should also expect to see more Apple, Android and other mobile based botnets pop up where they communicate to Command and Control servers (C&C) using via 3G or Wi-Fi networks….”
Read the Full Story: http://blogs.itbusiness.ca/2012/03/botnets-and-future-threats/