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What Is a Botnet?

Botnets can invade computer networks and take down your business. Learn how Cox Business MalBlock® helps protect devices from turning into evil botnets.

Regardless of how good your business Internet is, there are always online threats present. Without the right security tools in place, your business is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. One example of this is a botnet attack. A botnet is a network of compromised computers controlled by a hacker or botmaster to carry out attacks on your network. Learn all about how botnets work and how to safeguard your business against them.

What Do Botnets Do?

There are good and bad botnets. Good botnets are legal and used to keep websites functioning and help create a smooth user experience online. Illegal botnets are used by malicious hackers looking to gain access to your network. Hackers use botnets to crash your server, distribute malware and steal sensitive data from your business.


Once infected, a botnet allows the botmaster to:


  • Send sensitive files and other data
  • Search for vulnerabilities in other devices to infect as well
  • Install and run malicious applications and software
  • Read and write system data
  • Steal the user’s personal data
  • Monitor the user’s online behavior and activity

How Do Botnets Work?

Botmasters use malicious coding to access your network through a botnet. Once they’ve collected enough bots, command programming is used to carry out attacks remotely. These are the steps a hacker takes to build a botnet:


  • Hackers use a program known as a spider to find a vulnerability in your online security through an application, webpage or a user’s behavior.
  • Once the spider finds a way in, your device is infected with a drive-by-download or a Trojan horse. Trojan horses are designed to trick users into downloading malicious software allowing a hacker to gain access to their computer.
  • After the software is downloaded, the botnet will communicate with the master computer to let it know everything is in place to begin carrying out attacks.
  • Your computer or device is now entirely under control of the botmaster. Typically, a hacker will attempt to control thousands of computers remotely.

Types of Botnet Attacks

While botnets are a type of security threat, they’re also used as a tool to execute other cybercrimes and malware. Common botnet attacks include:

Distributed Denial-of-Service

This attack causes a server to overload and crash by directing an overwhelming amount of traffic to it. Botnets are tasked with overloading websites, causing them to be taken down.

Phishing Schemes

Botnets will imitate trusted websites or organizations in order to steal a user’s personal information, such as a bank account or email login.

Brute Force Attacks

The bots will run programs designed to access web accounts by force in order to access and steal user data.

How to Prevent Botnet Attacks

Don’t let your computer turn into an evil botnet and compromise your business. With the right security tools in place, you can help protect your devices, users and data from malicious hackers. Cox Business MalBlock is a cloud-based subscription service that automatically protects your devices against cyber threats, like botnets. It leverages machine learning to uncover current and emerging threats before they reach your network. Gain peace of mind in minutes with Cox Business MalBlock. Learn more about Cox Business MalBlock.

What can Malblock do for your business?

Find out how our customized solution can protect your business against cyber-attacks.

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