A botnet (a contraction of ‘robot network’) is a network of computers, servers and mobile devices which have been compromised by malicious code. Malicious threat actors then remotely control compromised devices, known as ‘bots’, to perform malicious, usually criminal actions including:
- Disseminating spam email, malware, and ransomware
- Password cracking
- Denial-of-Service attacks
- Eavesdropping on network and voice communications traffic
Botnets can be comprised of a few dozen computers up to many millions giving the attacker a huge amount of power at their disposal, which power they often make available for hire via dark web marketplaces and other channels.