Has your computer been turned into a zombie? Also known simply as bots, zombie computers are internet-connected devices that have been taken over by a hacker. Hackers typically control them remotely without the knowledge of the computers’ rightful owners. After gaining access to your computer, the hacker may use it for one or more of the following purposes.
Zombie computers are often used to carry out distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Hackers will initially hijack a group of computers. They will then use these interconnected zombie computers to target a website or server with an overwhelming amount of traffic. All of the traffic will consume the website’s or server’s resources to the point where it can longer function as intended. DDoS attacks can disrupt online services, cause financial losses and harm the reputation of businesses.
In addition to DDoS attacks, zombie computers are often used for brute-force attacks. Brute-force attacks are designed to breach password-protected logins. They involve spamming random password combinations in an effort to guess the right one. Since protected logins often limit the number of login attempts any given Internet Protocol (IP) can perform, hackers may use zombie computers to overcome this safeguard. They will essentially spam the random password combinations from the zombie computers, with each zombie computer having a unique IP address.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that zombie computers are used for spamming. Brute-force attacks are technically considered a form of spam, but zombie computers are used for many other forms of spam. Some hackers use them for email spamming. Other hackers use them to spam messages on forums and message boards.
Another common use for zombie computers is spreading malware. Hackers use them to spread trojans, ransomware, viruses and other forms of malware. This nefarious act begins with hijacking a group of computers. These hijacked computers will create a botnet. Hackers will then use the botnet to send or otherwise distribute malware to other internet-connected devices.
Whether you realize it or not, your computer may be a zombie computer. Zombie computers often go unnoticed by owners. After all, hackers want to continue accessing and using them for the nefarious purposes listed here. Therefore, they try to conceal their tracks. Some of the most common uses for zombie computers include DDoS attacks, brute-force attacks, spamming and spreading malware.