Questions for ‘Rise of the botnets’

Botnets are big armies of zombie computers.


To accompany feature “Rise of the botnets”


Before Reading

1.  What devices does your family have that are connected to the internet? What have you learned about how to keep these devices secure?

2.  It’s easy to imagine how a physical attack, like by an army, could cause damage. Can you think of any ways that computers could be used to cause physical harm?

During Reading

1.  What is the term botnet short for?   

2.  What do botnets do? Why does it make sense that they’re sometimes called “zombies”?

3.  What are three examples of damage that hackers have caused by using botnets?      

4.  What is one of the most surprising things about botnets, according to security expert Jody Westby?  

5.  What are three examples of devices that are at risk from botnets?  

6.  What are two reasons that botnet attacks will probably get worse, according to the article?   

7.  What is a cyberphysical system? What’s an example of one, and how might it be vulnerable to botnets?

8.  How are botnets different from projects that use volunteer computing, such as SETI@Home?   

9.  When can volunteer computing be most useful?

10.  What are three ways that people can help prevent botnet attacks, according to the article?       

After Reading

1.  What are two things that your family could do to help keep your home computer from becoming a zombie that causes problems?

2.  Computer security experts know of tens of thousands of botnets. Most are sitting dormant, waiting for the right time to get to work. Imagine that an evil genius activated them all at once, and you were put in charge of anticipating which that evil person would tackle first. Which tasks do you think he (or she) would unleash the zombies on first? Why? Explain your choice.