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Bots turning Your Computer into a Zombie

Hello Everyone! Carmine Corridore of Underdog Computer and Network Support! Back with another video blog. This week I will be teaching you about BOTS! Turning your computer into a Zombie! This is part 3 of my 3 part educational series on keeping safe on the internet.

Let’s get started!

BOTS! You may have heard of Bots before or this may be your first time but Bots are just as dangerous as malware and phishing if not more than because, it makes you unwillingly involved in criminal acts!

So what is a BOT? A bot is a piece of software that performs automated tasks by running scripts over the internet. It performs these simple and repetitive tasks much more quickly than a human sort of like a roBOT. I am sure this is where the term comes from. Most bots are harmless and crucial for making the internet useful like chat bots, auction bots, web crawlers or spiders. Like anything else, Bots can be “weaponized” or turned malignant and destructive when deployed by cyber criminals.

I am a history buff and I use history to see how something evolved. You know the old saying if you don’t know your history you are doomed to repeat it. I love to look back and see how certain technology came to be and how it evolved in this case into something bad.

Some say Bots began all the way back with Greek Mythology. But we are not going that far back. Lets go to 1950’s.

In 1950, computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing developed the Turing Test, also known as the imitation game It’s most primitive format required three players — A, B, and C.

Player A was a machine and player B was a human. Player C, also a human was the interrogator, by asking a series of questions would try to determine who the human was. However, there was a problem. At the time, databases were highly limited, and could therefore only store a certain amount of human phrases. That meant that the computer would eventually run out of answers to give Player C, eliminating the challenge and prematurely ending the test.

One of the most significant AI developments of the 1960s was the development of ELIZA — a bot, named in part for the Pygmalion character, whose purpose was to simulate a psychotherapist. Created in 1966 by MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum, the technology was limited, to say the least, as was ELIZA’s vocabulary. AI continued advancing in the 80’s and 90’s but most of it for scientific and government focused.

In the 90’s the shift began towards the consumer market, if you remember some of the games from the 90’s Simon Says, I took a lickin from a chicken and others. Then in the late 90’s around 1996, Tamagotchi a computerized handheld pet hit the market, which required digital care to keep it alive.

As the internet became popular so did the use of bots. As I mentioned earlier you had internet bots called crawlers or spiders that went and “crawled” through a website and harvested all the links to categorize in a search directory(remember those).

So that doesn’t sound so bad, when did it go wrong? Remember I said earlier – Most bots are harmless and crucial for making the internet useful like chat bots, auction bots, web crawlers or spiders. Like anything else, Bots can be “weaponized” or turned malignant and destructive when deployed by cyber criminals. Something called the BOTNET was developed. What the heck is that? Botnets are nothing more than an army of infected computers, which grow by infecting other computers. How that happens is the reason this is part of my 3 part series. It happens through Trojan horses, infected emails, viruses, etc.. who controls them, how do they get their instructions?

So how does it work? First it starts with an infection generally called a Trojan horse. It is called a Trojan horse because it was let in by YOU! That’s right I said you. A free download from a website, Freeware installation of some software. Your reboot your computer and boom you are infected! Your antivirus usually does not pick it up because it is made to install before the av has a chance to start and is not smart enough to know it is a malicious program. Once on your computer it begins reporting to a C2C or a command to control center for instructions. That is it your computer is a zombie now reporting to a Botmaster for instructions and mindlessly infecting other computers. Most of the times you will not know it is happening it doesn’t take a super amount of resources to get done. Most of the times it is only when alerted by your ISP that a Honeypot has flagged your network.

A C2C is one way that a botnet is created a second way and most recent way is a peer to peer. So rather than each zombie communicating back to the botmaster, each computer becomes both the master and the slave, Woooo! Think Skynet! As you can imagine the Peer to Peer method is much harder to kill.

How to prevent! Prevention becomes 2 parts education 1 part technology and a good Technology Partner!

Underdog Computer and Network Support will educate you and your staff on good surfing habits and the warning signs. Using proven technology securing your network and making sure your computers are up to date with the latest patches. Our professionals have been doing this for 26 years. Give us a call today 570-634-5350 for a free review of your network. And….. Never Fear, We Fix I.T.