What is a BotNet?

Botnets are made up of ordinary computers that have been infected with malware.  The owners of these computers might notice unusual slowness or odd behavior, but many don't realize they're infected at all.
When the creator of the botnet sends out an order, all the infected computers act on it. These commands can be anything from sending spam email to generating large amounts of random traffic. Having thousands of computers simultaneously visit a site can cripple it, in what is known as a "DDoS" (Distributed Denial of Service) attack.
Reports have surfaced claiming that DDoS bot traffic has increased 240%, and our own network technicians have noticed similar trends over the past few months.
To help keep your computers clear of bots - both to help stop these attacks, and to keep your machines running smoothly, follow these tips:

          Choose strong passwords, at least one upper case letter, one lower case letter and one number and a minimum of seven characters total.
          Keep all programs up to date. It may be annoying to have your programs constantly updating, but if an important security loophole is closed by a patch, it will only work if you install it.
          Keep an antivirus program running. No antivirus is perfect, but it's a baseline of protection against the most common types of malicious code.
          Be cautious with public wireless networks. If you're logging onto the web from a library or coffee shop, your information is only as safe as the network is - and public networks are an easy target for hackers.
          Let us know if you're headed out of the country. This one may sound strange, but one of the easiest ways to check a network for bot traffic is to see where email accounts are being accessed. If we notice an email account being accessed from Belarus or Nigeria, it's usually safe to assume the account's been hacked.
We usually lock accounts with suspicious activity until the passwords are reset - if you're planning on accessing your email from another country, giving us a call ahead of time can save everyone some worry! Plus we can give you some pointers if you're headed to a country with known network security issues.
Following just these few safety tips can help protect your computer, and help us keep Socket's networks safe.