Cyberattacks can take many forms. Those intended to disrupt a business often happen as denial of service (DoS) attacks, and its even more disruptive cousin, the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

Such attacks are often executed by a botnet, which is a network of infected machines or connected devices at the order of a botmaster. Botnet attacks present yet another challenge for security and IT teams focused on cybersecurity. In this post, we’ll explore the nuances of botnet attacks and how to defend against them.

What Are the Most Common Attacks Executed by a BotNet?

Although botnet attacks are usually the vehicle for distributed denial of service attacks and ransomware, botnets can deliver numerous other cybersecurity threats to organizations too.

For example, botnets can be used to command and control large-scale, targeted phishing attacks. One recently discovered botnet was designed to generate scams targeting users of the payment app Zelle. Botnets can conduct massive schemes to collect data and gain access to networks, with little effort from the attackers.

Cybercriminals also use botnet services to execute brute force attacks to decrypt information or gain access to protected data. Botnets can efficiently distribute the load of a “dictionary attack” by systematically trying millions of potential passwords (such as words in a dictionary) against the authentication mechanisms of organizations.

Why Are BotNet Attacks So Difficult to Stop?

Even though there are many known manifestations of these cyberattacks, botnet attacks remain a significant threat to organizations’ cybersecurity, and for a good reason.

With an estimated 4.66 billion internet users worldwide, a massive number of vulnerable devices can be victims of botnet malware. The devices can fall under the control of bot herders, resulting in a continuous flow of botnet services available to threat actors.

Even if your organization hasn’t yet been the victim of malicious software that turns your operating systems into part of a botnet, you could still be the target of a large-scale cyberattack. The vast number of infected devices available to a single hacker can exponentially accelerate the speed and volume of attacks he can execute in a given time period.

How Do You Protect Yourself from a Botnet Attack?

Even though botnet attacks can be devastating for organizations, a combination of cybersecurity best practices and tools focused on preventing these specific risks can help you stay ahead of the threat.

Firewall and Antivirus Software Deployment

Firewalls are a fundamental part of a cybersecurity and risk management program. They are the first line of defense against threats identified by specialists in the field. This piece of IT security makes it possible to prohibit patterns that can put the network at risk, or to limit the number of requests made from the same IP address or to the same port.

Antivirus software is a cybersecurity tool that can prevent the infection of a system by comparing the files that intend to enter or run on a computer against a malicious software database. Antivirus software can also mitigate the harm of a cyberattack by containing the spread of the malicious software or removing it from the system.

Together, firewalls and antivirus software can reduce and mitigate cyber risks, provided they are kept up-to-date and monitored regularly.

Software Update Management

Most of the cyberattacks that took place in 2021 were the result of vulnerabilities inherent in legacy and out-of-date software. Every day new vulnerabilities are discovered in current versions of operating systems or software, and they are being updated constantly to patch those security vulnerabilities.

Legacy software faces new vulnerabilities every day. A software update management program can minimize the risk of cybercriminals exploiting known vulnerabilities in critical systems or spreading across a network.

Reinforced Access Controls

To avoid brute force attacks and minimize the threat of phishing attacks or leaked credentials, develop reinforced access controls. For example, multi-factor authentication can protect a network from unsecured passwords. In addition, using a segmented network can minimize data leakage or its harm on essential organization segments.

Network Traffic Monitoring

To prevent the spread of malicious activities once they have infected an endpoint, you must identify them early. Hence it’s critical to monitor network traffic for malicious patterns to isolate and eliminate threats before it is too late.

Cybersecurity Awareness Training

No cybersecurity measure will be effective if your employees lack the necessary knowledge to keep themselves and your IT infrastructure safe from cyber threats. With the help of cybersecurity awareness training, employees will more easily identify social engineering attacks and other network threats, minimizing the risks on your cybersecurity systems.

ZenGRC Helps Businesses Mitigate Risks & Malware Attacks

ZenGRC can be your solution for detecting and dealing with all types of cyber threats. It provides an integrated platform that enables your security and compliance teams to collaborate, identify risks across your organization, and manage threat mitigation.

ZenGRC’s compliance, risk, and workflow management software is an intuitive, simple-to-use platform that not only maintains track of your progress but also allows you to identify areas of high risk before they become an urgent issue.

ZenGRC can also track your compliance status in real-time across multiple frameworks, including PCI DSS, HIPAA, and FedRAMP, among others; letting you know where your gaps are and what needs to be done to fix them. This increases the effectiveness of compliance officers and improves the efficiency of continuous governance and monitoring duties.

Contact us for a demo to learn more about how ZenGRC can help your organization anticipate cybersecurity threats.