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What is Mirai botnet and 3 ways to counter it

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Mirai is a malware which affects the networked devices working on ARC/Linux processors. When these devices get attacked, they get converted into bots or zombies. Many devices together form a network of bots. This network, called a botnet, is used by the hackers to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Mirai majorly attacks devices like IP cameras and home routers.

MalwareMustDie founded Mirai malware in August 2016. It was used in some of the biggest cyberattacks in recent years including the attack on computer security researcher Brian Krebs’ website in 2016. Mirai also attacked French Cloud Computing website alongwith the series of DDoS attacks — Dyn cyberattack.

How does it work?

JeroenT96 | Wikimedia Commons

When the attacker gains access to a network of online computers, the attack can be carried out by remote, which controls all the malware affected computers or IoT devices. After establishing Botnet, each bot will receive the instructions separately and will respond by sending requests to the target, causing the target server or network to overflow. This will result in a denial-of-service to regular traffic. As each bot is a legitimate entity, the usual traffic and attack traffic can not be distinguished easily.

Also read: Ransomware vs Malware vs Spyware

How to protect devices against botnet attacks?

The Industry Botnet Group (IBG), which is a collaboration between many small industries, is trying to protect businesses and consumers against cyber-crime. IBG, along with the governments of different nations, has suggested three steps to protect the devices from cyber attacks. They are as follows.

Do not download anything from an untrustworthy source

There are many sources on the internet which would install malicious software on your devices. If the source is unknown to you or you are in doubt, you should avoid installing that software. They can be a free anti-virus, media players and even pirated software that could harm your device and make it prone to malware attacks.

You should also be careful while downloading attachments from an email, which is one of the easiest methods to get into one’s computer.

Use an Anti-Virus

Antiviruses are the software which regularly checks the hard disk of the computer and searches for the software/applications which do not belong there or are suspicious. Antiviruses like McAfee, Norton, Kaspersky are few of the well-known antivirus software. They eliminate any threat causing software from the system and keep the device malware-free.

Many updates are rolled out for antivirus software every month so that they can remain up to date. Buying a paid version of antivirus software is advised as it provides more security, and the risk of cyberattacks becomes very low.

Share these strategies with others

The internet is a big community, and the most dangerous thing with a botnet is that it can spread at a very high speed in a network of interconnected devices. By spreading awareness regarding this, one can help in keeping the community secure and helping the world to fight against malware attacks.

If you wish to share more ways to protect devices against Mirai attack, let us know in the comments below.

Also read: What is SIM card swapping? How to protect yourself from the scam?

Himanshu Nimje

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