Internet security

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1.1 Introduction

During the last few decades, we have seen the dramatically rise of the Internet and its applications to the point which they have become a critical part of our lives. Internet security in that way has become more and more important to those who use the Internet for work, business, entertainment or education.

Most of the attacks and malicious activities on the Internet are carried out by malicious applications such as Malware, which includes viruses, trojan, worms, and botnets. Botnets become a main source of most of the malicious activities such as scanning, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) activities, and malicious activities happen across the Internet.

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1.2 Botnet Largest Security Threat

A bot is a software code, or a malware that runs automatically on a compromised machine without the user’s permission. The bot code is usually written by some criminal groups. The term “bot” refers to the compromised computers in the network. A botnet is essentially a network of bots that are under the control of an attacker (BotMaster). Figure 1.1 illustrates a typical structure of a botnet.

A bot usually take advantage of sophisticated malware techniques. As an example, a bot use some techniques like keylogger to record user private information like password and hide its existence in the system. More importantly, a bot can distribute itself on the internet to increase its scale to form a bot army. Recently, attackers use compromised Web servers to contaminate those who visit the websites through drive-by download [6]. Currently, a botnet contains thousands of bots, but there is some cases that botnet contain several millions of bots [7].

Actually bots differentiate themselves from other kind of worms by their ability to receive commands from attacker remotely [32]. Attacker or better call it botherder control bots through different protocols and structures. The Internet Relay Chat (IRC) protocol is the earliest and still the most commonly used C&C channel at present. HTTP is also used because Http protocol is permitted in most networks. Centralized structure botnets was very successful in the past but now botherders use decentralized structure to avoid single point of failure problem.

Unlike previous malware such as worms, which are used probably for entertaining, botnets are used for real financial abuse. Actually Botnets can cause many problems as some of them listed below:

i. Click fraud. A botmaster can easily profit by forcing the bots to click on advertisement for the purpose of personal or commercial abuse.

ii. Spam production. Majority of the email on the internet is spam.

iii. DDoS attacks. A bot army can be commanded to begin a distributed denial-of-service attack against any machine.

iv. Phishing. Botnets are widely used to host malicious phishing sites.

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