Botnets are commonly used to conduct cyber attacks against unsuspecting victims. To conduct a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, for example, a hacker will typically hijack thousands of computers. Known as a botnet, this network of hijacked computers can be controlled by the hacker. Some botnets are used to conduct DDoS attacks, whereas others are used to distribute malware. How do you know if your computer is part of a botnet exactly?

#1) Slow Internet

Slow internet is a telltale sign that your computer is part of a botnet. Botnets can be controlled by hackers. If your computer is hijacked, the hacker may use it to spam the networks of unsuspecting victims. During these spam attacks, your internet connection will become congested, which may result in slow speeds when browsing websites.

#2) Unexpected Shutdowns

If your computer shuts down or reboots unexpectedly, it could be part of a botnet. Unexpected shutdowns are particularly common with botnet computers. Assuming there are no hardware problems with your computer, it shouldn’t shut down unexpectedly. This is just one more sign that your computer is part of a botnet.

#3) Can’t Close Certain Programs

Another sign that your computer is part of a botnet is the inability to close certain programs. To hijack your computer for use in a botnet, a hacker may install malware on it. Some types of malware are designed to prevent victims from closing them. If you can’t close a program, it may be malware that turns your computer into part of a botnet.

#4) Can’t Update OS

In addition to closing certain programs, you may not be able to update your computer’s operating system (OS) if it’s part of a botnet. New versions of OSs are released regularly to defend against new types of malware. To counter this cybersecurity feature, hackers have developed malware that prevents victims from updating their computer’s OS.

#5) Malware Detected

If your antivirus software has detected malware on your computer, your computer may be part of a botnet. As previously mentioned, malware is typically used to hijack computers for botnets. A hacker may install malware on your computer so that he or she can control it remotely. Running antivirus software can help you identify infections of malware. Of course, not all malware is used for botnets. Nonetheless, if you discover malware on your computer, you should investigate to determine if your computer is part of a botnet.

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