How Bot Those Nets?
Initially, bot networks were used for just one thing: denial of service attacks. Hackers would use them against each other, fighting hacker feuds in cyberspace by attacking each other's computers. The first widely publicized use of a distributed intruder tool technically not a botnet, but practically the same thing was in February 2000, when Canadian hacker Mafiaboy directed an army of compromised computers to flood CNN.com, Amazon.com, eBay, Dell Computer and other sites with debilitating volumes of traffic. Every newspaper carried that story.
These days, bot networks are more likely to be controlled by criminals than by hackers. The important difference is the motive: profit. Networks are being used to send phishing e-mails and other spam. They're being used for click fraud. They're being used as an extortion tool: Pay up or we'll DDoS you! Wired News: How Bot Those Nets?
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