10 Signs Your Computer Is Part of a Botnet, as Detailed by Eset
Article by George Norman
On 23 Apr 2010
A zombie computer is a computer that has been infected and is now being used for various malicious purposes without the user being aware of it. Take a whole bunch of zombie computers, put them together, and you have a botnet – a group of computers that is used to spread malware, flood the web with spam, and attack other computers, and so on.

If you fail to properly secure your computer, it could become a zombie and it could become part of a botnet. According to Eset, company best known for its NOD32 antivirus solution, you could never pick up on the fact that your computer is part of a botnet. There are a few tell-tale signs though.


These 10 tell-tale signs:

1. When the computer is idle, the fan goes into overdrive.

This indicates that the computer is running a program that you’re not aware of. That program is using up system resources, causing the system fan to go into overdrive. Of course, the fan could go into overdrive because it is failing, because there’s dirt in the fan, or because Microsoft updates are being installed.

2. The computer takes forever to shut down, sometimes doesn’t shut down properly

Long shut down times or failure to shut down could be caused by bugs in the malicious software that infected your computer. This problem could also be caused by conflicts between legitimate programs or by OS bugs.

3. Posts on Facebook your did not post

This could mean that your computer is in infected, or that someone has hacked into your Facebook account. The first thing you need to do is scan your system and remove any malware should there be any on it. Then you need to change your Facebook password. If you’ve used the Facebook password on all your other online accounts, you need to change the password for these accounts as well. This is why it is a bad idea to use the same password over and over again.

4. Program run very slowly

Programs run slowly because hidden programs are probably using system resources.

5. You can’t download operating system updates

If your computer is already infected, this is a definite tell-tale sign. If it isn’t infected and something else is preventing you from downloading system updates, the computer could get infected in the future. Keeping your system patched and up-to-date is critical in keeping it safe and protected.

6. You cannot visit security software vendor sites, you cannot download antivirus software updates

To protect itself, malware will try to disable antivirus solutions. This means it will prevent antivirus programs from being installed, and it will prevent already installed antivirus programs from running. The fact that you cannot visit the websites of security software vendors, and the fact that you cannot update your currently installed antivirus program is a definite tell-tale sign.

7. Very slow browsing speeds

If your computer is being used to send massive amounts of spam, to upload/download data, or to attack other computers, then internet access will slow down significantly.

8. Your contacts received emails you never sent out

Just like the Facebook example above, this either means that your computer is infected, or that someone has broken into your email account.

9. Popups and ads appear on the desktop

When you’re surfing the web, you can expect to see ads and popups. Seeing popups and ads when you’re not using the browser, is usually a sign that your computer is infected.

10. Weird programs in Task Manager

When you open the Windows Task Manager, you see programs with a cryptic name and description. This could be malware.

Tags: Eset, Botnet, Malware, Infection, Zombie
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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