College for cyber criminals: Dark web crooks are teaching courses on how to build botnets

Botnets are one of the key drivers of cyberattacks, used to distribute malware, ransomware and other malicious payloads – and dark web forums are now offering lessons on how to make money from them, a move that is likely to increase the threat over time.

Infected computers and devices in a cyber criminal-controlled botnet can be used to send phishing emails or malware to even more devices. It’s common for botnet operators to lease out their collection of unwittingly controlled machines – which can number in the thousands – to other cyber criminals. 

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For example, TrickBot malware ropes machines into a botnet, providing the attacker with a backdoor into them. That access is often sold to cyber criminals who can then use them to deploy ransomware, using that access to encrypt files and demand a significant ransom payment. Many botnets are used to steal usernames and passwords, while others will take the processing power of the machines they control and lease them out to launch DDoS attacks in order to overflow websites with traffic and take them down. 

SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report) 

Botnet operators can, therefore, make significant sums of money, and now there are dark web

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