Spectrum Internet

How can my computer become infected with a botnet?

Botnets take advantage of vulnerabilities in computer software or by breaking into accounts, often those that do not contain strong passwords.

Malware can be downloaded to your computer when you click on a link, such as one for what seems like a harmless video or photo, in an email attachment, instant message, or on a social network. You also might unintentionally download a bot by clicking a malicious Web page or a button or link, such as one that contains a fake warning that your computer has a virus.

The software also can be transferred to your computer in software obtained in peer-to-peer file-sharing programs or from flash drives that contain files with bot malware.

How will I know my computer is infected with a botnet?

Your computer could be part of a botnet without your knowledge. Some indications that your computer may have been attacked by a botnet:

  • Your computer is running more slowly than normal or crashes often.
  • You've received multiple undelivered email notifications in your email inbox. That could indicate that your computer and email address are being used to spam others.
  • Your web browser contains multiple toolbars.
  • Email addresses that you do not recognize are linked to your email account.

It is recommended that you regularly run a scan of your computer with an up-to-date security program like the McAfee software that is provided with your Internet Service. It is designed to deny attempts to connect your computer to suspicious web addresses to try to prevent your personal information from being sent to the botnet. Please see How do I get the security software that is included with Internet service?

If you believe your computer may be infected, visit our Bot Remediation page for more information on removing botnets.

Article Number: 9570

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