Botnets are often used to carry out distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. DDoS attacks, of course, involve sending an excessive number of data packets to a server. Servers can only process so many data packets at any given time. During a DDoS attack, a server may become overwhelmed to the point where it fails.

Rather than sending data packets from a single Internet Protocol (IP) address, many hackers send them multiple IP addresses. They hijack other devices to use in their DDoS schemes. These networks of hijacked devices are known as botnets. There are two types of botnets, however: client-server and peer-to-peer (P2P). What’s the difference between client-server and P2P botnets exactly?

What Is a Client-Server Botnet?

A client-server botnet is a type of botnet that leverages a Control and Command server. With a client-server botnet, the hacker will use a Control and Command server to operate the hijacked devices. The hacker won’t need to control each hijacked device individually. By logging in to the Control and Command server, the hacker to control some or all of the hijacked devices simultaneously.

What Is a P2P Botnet?

A P2P botnet is a type of botnet that leverages a P2P network. It still involves a network of hijacked devices. To create a P2P botnet, a hacker must gain control of users’ devices. P2P botnets live up to their namesake by using a P2P network for deployment. Hackers build and maintain P2P botnets by deploying malware on P2P networks.

Differences Between Client-Server and P2P Botnets

While they are both used to carry out DDoS attacks, client-server and P2P botnets aren’t the same. Client-server botnets involve the use of a Control and Command server, whereas P2P botnets involve the use of a P2P network.

P2P botnets are newer than client-server botnets. In the past, all botnets used a client-server architecture. This is no longer the case, though. Many botnets now use a P2P architecture.

P2P botnets are harder to take down. They operate over a P2P network, meaning they have hundreds or even thousands of command points. Client-server botnets operate on a single server. If the Control and Command server is taken down, the hacker may lose control over the botnet.

Botnets are the driving force behind most DDoS attacks. There are client-server botnets as well as P2P botnets. Client-server botnets use a Control and Command server, whereas P2P botnets use a P2P network.