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BotNets -Introduction

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I have been reading about Botnets recently.
What I understand from the basic information available is
Botnet is a network of BOT(abbreviated for robot). BOTs are automatized programs used to run some predefined task and react on the basis of command and messages it receives.
Thus, Bots may or may not be malicious.
If we consider a malicious bot, it is an infected machine which is connected to the attacker and the attacker send it a command or a message to which the bot machine reacts by performing an automated task for the particular command or message.

I have read about IRC bots. That is probably the most convenient way to spread bot infection in the network. Also it is convinient to use IRC channels for the command and control of BOTNET.

I would further like to know if there are other ways in which a Bot infection can spread.What are the types of Botnets prevailing.

How can one detect if the networks is infected by any bot or a machine is getting attacked by a botnet.