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    Protecting your practice from botnets

    Making sure you’re safe doesn’t have to be a difficult process.

    Botnets are covert armies of compromised networked computers and devices (bots) that have been subverted by malware to enable remote control by a cybercriminal.

    Botnets are bred and nurtured by hackers to provide a powerful, dark cloud computing network used to conduct cybercrime attacks, like the recent DDoS attack against popular Domain Name Service (DNS) provider Dyn. This attack took down several flagship websites and significant parts of the internet for hours.

    The good news is, it’s relatively simple to ensure your computers and devices aren’t part of the next Botnet attack. This article shows how you can protect yourself against the risk of botnet infection and easily identify any bots operating on your network and clean them up before they become part of the next cyberattack.

    Related article: Are you vulnerable to exploits?

    In order to understand how to identify and stop botnets, it’s important to understand how they work — how they get started, how they spread and how they operate.

    Like any other malware, botnets start by entering your network through one of a few different conventional means:

    Email attachments: malware is often delivered as an email attachment as part of a spam or phishing campaign that attempts to have the user execute the attachment to kick off the initial exploit.

    RobotWeb sites: compromised websites often contain malware that can be silently executed by the browser, kicking off a chain of events that ends up exploiting a vulnerability on the system and infecting it.

    Remote access: IoT devices that are exposed to the internet, allowing direct login access with factory credentials, are the worst offenders, but hackers are not beneath brute force password hacking or exploiting known vulnerabilities in web interfaces to gain control of a device.

    USB sticks: while this infection technique is now almost legendary, there’s still a danger that a user will foolishly plug in a USB device of unknown origin into their computer to see what it contains, only to introduce malware onto their system.

    How to protect your practice

    The essential ingredient to effective protection from botnets is your network firewall. Look for the following components in a next-gen firewall to ensure you’re getting the best protection possible:

    Related article: 9 ways to avoid cyber attacks

    Advanced Threat Protection: Advanced Threat Protection can identify botnets already operating on your network. Ensure your firewall has malicious traffic detection, botnet detection, and command and control (C&C) call-home traffic detection. The firewall should use a multi-layered approach that combines IPS, DNS and Web to identify call-home traffic and immediately identify not only the infected host, but the user and process. Ideally, it should also block or isolate the infected system until it can be investigated.

    Read through to page 2 for more tips...

    Dr. Lorne Lavine
    Dr. Lorne Lavine, founder and president of Dental Technology Consultants, has more than 30 years invested in the dental and dental ...

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