A survey on botnets, issues, threats, methods, detection and prevention

Harry Owen, Javad Zarrin*, Shahrzad M. Pour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Botnets have become increasingly common and progressively dangerous to both business and domestic networks alike. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a large quantity of the population has been performing corporate activities from their homes. This leads to speculation that most computer users and employees working remotely do not have proper defences against botnets, resulting in botnet infection propagating to other devices connected to the target network. Consequently, not only did botnet infection occur within the target user’s machine but also neighbouring devices. The focus of this paper is to review and investigate current state of the art and research works for both methods of infection, such as how a botnet could penetrate a system or network directly or indirectly, and standard detection strategies that had been used in the past. Furthermore, we investigate the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create innovative approaches for botnet detection to enable making predictions as to whether there are botnets present within a network. The paper also discusses methods that threat-actors may be used to infect target devices with botnet code. Machine learning algorithms are examined to determine how they may be used to assist AI-based detection and what advantages and disadvantages they would have to compare the most suitable algorithm businesses could use. Finally, current botnet prevention and countermeasures are discussed to determine how botnets can be prevented from corporate and domestic networks and ensure that future attacks can be prevented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-88
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cybersecurity and Privacy
Issue number1
Early online date28 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2022


  • Botnets
  • Botnet infection
  • Botnet detection
  • Machine learning for botnets
  • Deep learning for botnets
  • Botnet mitigation
  • Botnet prevention


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