The Most Popular Way of Using Zombie Computers: A Comprehensive Ranking

Choose the way you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 22, 2024 06:42
Unleash the undead power of the digital world! Dive into the thrilling realm of zombie computers and uncover the most popular ways they're being utilized. Join thousands of curious minds at StrawPoll as we rank the mysterious and intriguing ways zombie computers are used in today's technology landscape. Cast your vote for your favorite method or raise the dead with a new suggestion to keep the excitement alive. Don't miss out on this spine-chilling adventure - let your voice be heard and be a part of the ultimate digital zombie uprising!

What Is the Most Popular Way of Using Zombie Computers?

  1. 1
    Zombie computers are often used to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, where multiple infected computers are used to overwhelm a targeted website or network with traffic, making it inaccessible to users. This is the most common use of zombie computers.
    DDoS attacks, short for Distributed Denial of Service attacks, are a type of cyberattack wherein multiple compromised computers are used to flood a targeted website or online service with a massive amount of bogus requests. The goal is to overwhelm the target's resources, rendering the service inaccessible to legitimate users.
    • Attack Size: DDoS attacks can generate enormous amounts of traffic, often reaching tens or hundreds of gigabits per second.
    • Botnets: These attacks are typically carried out using a network of compromised devices, called botnets, which are controlled by the attacker.
    • Attack Types: DDoS attacks can vary in their techniques, including UDP floods, TCP SYN floods, HTTP floods, and DNS amplification attacks.
    • Motivations: Attackers may execute DDoS attacks for various reasons, such as financial gain, competitive advantage, hacktivism, or simply for causing disruption.
    • Impacted Services: DDoS attacks can target any online service or website, including e-commerce websites, banking systems, government portals, gaming servers, and more.
    DDoS attacks in other rankings
  2. 2
    Zombie computers can be used to send out large volumes of spam emails, which can be difficult to trace back to the sender. This is often done to promote scams or other malicious activities.
    Spamming is the act of sending unsolicited and unwanted messages (usually emails) to a large number of recipients. These messages often contain advertisements, scams, or other fraudulent content. Spammers commonly rely on zombie computers to send out massive amounts of spam messages, leveraging the compromised machines to avoid detection and increase the volume of spam being distributed.
    • Mass distribution: Spammers utilize zombie networks to send spam emails to a vast number of recipients.
    • Unsolicited content: Spam messages are sent without the consent of the recipients.
    • Advertisement: Spammers often promote products, services, or websites through spam emails.
    • Scams and fraud: Spam emails may contain deceptive content with the intention of defrauding recipients.
    • Compromised computers: Zombie computers, infected by malware, are employed to send spam without the owner's knowledge.
  3. 3
    Zombie computers can be used to crack passwords or encryption keys, which can be used to access sensitive information or systems.
    Password cracking is a process of systematically guessing passwords in order to gain unauthorized access to a system or an account. It often involves the use of a software or tool that attempts multiple combinations or dictionary words until the correct password is found.
    • Method: It utilizes algorithms and techniques such as brute-force attacks, dictionary attacks, rainbow table attacks, and hybrid attacks.
    • Brute-force Attacks: An automated process that systematically tries all possible combinations of passwords.
    • Dictionary Attacks: It involves using a pre-existing list of commonly used passwords or words from a dictionary.
    • Rainbow Table Attacks: A precomputed table of possible password hashes is used to quickly reverse-engineer the original password.
    • Hybrid Attacks: A combination of brute-force and dictionary attacks to increase the chances of success.
  4. 4
    Cryptocurrency mining
    Alexandr Gromov · CC BY-SA 4.0

    Cryptocurrency mining

    Satoshi Nakamoto
    Zombie computers can be used to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, using the processing power of the infected computers to generate new coins.
    Cryptocurrency mining is the process of validating and recording transactions on a blockchain network while simultaneously generating new cryptocurrency coins as a reward. This process requires significant computational power and can be resource-intensive. Zombie computers, also known as botnets, are often exploited by cybercriminals to perform cryptocurrency mining without the knowledge or consent of the computer's owner.
    • Proof of Work: Cryptocurrency mining relies on proof of work consensus algorithm to ensure the validity of transactions and create new coins.
    • Computational Power: Increased computational power results in higher chances of mining successfully and earning rewards.
    • Energy Consumption: Cryptocurrency mining can consume significant amounts of energy due to the computational requirements.
    • Mining Pools: Miners often join mining pools to combine their resources and increase the chances of earning rewards.
    • Block Reward: Miners receive a certain number of cryptocurrency coins as a reward for successfully mining a block of transactions.
  5. 5
    Zombie computers can be used to form botnets, which are networks of infected computers that can be controlled remotely to carry out various malicious activities.
    Botnets are networks of compromised computers, or zombie computers, that are under the control of a single attacker. These networks are typically utilized for various malicious activities such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, spam emails, identity theft, spreading malware, and illicit cryptocurrency mining.
    • Number of infected devices: Botnets can consist of hundreds to millions of compromised devices.
    • Command and Control (C&C) infrastructure: Botnets rely on a centralized infrastructure that enables the attacker to communicate and control the compromised devices.
    • Distribution methods: Botnets can be created through various distribution methods, including spam emails, drive-by downloads, social engineering, and exploit kits.
    • Zombie computer management: Botnets employ techniques to manage and coordinate the actions of zombie computers, such as updating malware, issuing commands, and collecting data.
    • Anonymity and evasion techniques: Botnets often employ techniques to hide their activities and evade detection, such as using proxies, encryption, and fast-flux domains.
  6. 6
    Zombie computers can be used to artificially inflate website traffic or clicks on ads, generating revenue for the attacker.
    Ad fraud is a type of online advertising scam that involves generating illegitimate or fraudulent ad impressions, clicks, or conversions. It is typically carried out using networks of zombie computers, also known as botnets, which are controlled remotely by the fraudsters. The purpose of ad fraud is to exploit the pay-per-click or pay-per-impression revenue models employed by online advertisers, deceiving them into paying for fake or non-existent traffic. This unethical practice not only wastes advertising budgets but also undermines the fairness and accuracy of online advertising campaigns.
    • Botnets: Botnets are networks of zombie computers that are utilized to carry out ad fraud.
    • Impression Fraud: Generating fake ad impressions to deceive advertisers into believing their ads are being viewed.
    • Click Fraud: Creating fake clicks on ads to artificially increase click-through rates.
    • Conversion Fraud: Faking ad conversions or engagements to deceive advertisers into thinking their campaigns are successful.
    • Traffic Laundering: Using legitimate websites to hide fraudulent traffic and make it appear as genuine.
  7. 7
    Zombie computers can be used to launch phishing attacks, where users are tricked into giving away sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers.
    Phishing is a type of cyberattack that involves tricking individuals or organizations into divulging sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, or financial details, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity or person. This is usually done through fraudulent emails, instant messaging, or websites that mimic legitimate sources.
    • Primary Target: Individuals and organizations
    • Objective: Stealing sensitive information like usernames, passwords, and financial data
    • Delivery Method: Fraudulent emails, instant messaging, or fake websites
    • Impersonation: Masquerading as a trustworthy entity or person
    • Social Engineering: Manipulating human psychology to gain trust and induce actions
  8. 8
    Zombie computers can be used to distribute ransomware, which encrypts a user's files and demands payment in exchange for the decryption key.
    Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to encrypt files on a victim's computer or network, rendering them inaccessible until a ransom is paid to the attacker. It is one of the most common and damaging cyberattacks, affecting individuals, businesses, and even government organizations.
    • Mode of Infection: Ransomware can infect systems through various means, including email attachments, malicious websites, infected downloads, or even exploiting vulnerabilities in software or operating systems.
    • Encryption: Once installed, ransomware uses advanced encryption algorithms to lock victims' files, making them inaccessible without a decryption key held by the attacker.
    • Ransom Note: After encrypting files, ransomware usually leaves a ransom note or pop-up message on the victim's screen, demanding payment in exchange for the decryption key.
    • Bitcoin Payments: Attackers typically demand ransom payments in cryptocurrencies, most commonly Bitcoin, due to its anonymous and decentralized nature.
    • Time Limit: Ransomware often imposes a time limit for the victim to pay the ransom, threatening to delete the decryption key or increase the ransom amount if the deadline is missed.
  9. 9
    Zombie computers can be used to steal sensitive information from targeted individuals or organizations, such as government agencies or businesses.
    Espionage is a mode of warfare that focuses on gathering and acquiring sensitive information through covert activities. It involves gathering intelligence on the enemy, their activities, and their intentions. Espionage played a significant role during the Cold War as both the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in intense espionage efforts to gain an advantage over one another.
    • Covert Operations: Espionage involves secretive and covert operations that are intended to remain undetected by the target.
    • Intelligence Gathering: The primary goal of espionage is to gather valuable intelligence and information about enemy activities, military plans, and scientific advancements.
    • Human Intelligence (HUMINT): Espionage relies heavily on human intelligence, where spies gather information through infiltration, recruitment, and manipulation.
    • Signals Intelligence (SIGINT): Monitoring and intercepting communication signals played a crucial role in gathering intelligence during the Cold War.
    • Counterintelligence: Espionage also includes measures to protect one's own intelligence operations and to counter enemy espionage efforts.
  10. 10
    Zombie computers can be used in cyber attacks against other nations or organizations, with the goal of disrupting or damaging their infrastructure or systems.
    Cyber warfare is a form of conflict in the digital realm, where aggressive actions and strategies are employed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems, networks, or information. It involves the use of various cyberattacks, such as malware infections, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, phishing, and more, to achieve political, economic, or military objectives.
    • Objective: To disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems, networks, or information.
    • Methods: Malware infections, DDoS attacks, phishing, social engineering, espionage, etc.
    • Motives: Political, economic, or military objectives.
    • Targets: Government agencies, military organizations, critical infrastructure, businesses, individuals, etc.
    • Scope: Global, with potential impact on international relations and security.

Missing your favorite way?


Ranking factors for popular way

  1. The number of compromised computers
    The more computers that have been infected and turned into zombies, the more powerful the attacker's network becomes.
  2. The geographical spread of the botnet
    The more widespread the botnet, the greater its ability to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against targets.
  3. The capability of the botnet
    The type, size, and complexity of the botnet can determine how effective it is at performing its designated task.
  4. The activities carried out by the botnet
    Some botnets are used for spamming, while others might be used for mining cryptocurrencies, carrying out DDoS attacks, or stealing sensitive information.
  5. The duration of the botnet
    Some botnets are active for a short period while others can last for a long time. The longer a botnet is active, the greater the damage it can do.
  6. The motivation behind the botnet
    Botnets can be developed by cybercriminals, state-sponsored organizations, or hacktivists. Depending on the motivation behind the botnet, its impact can vary.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular way of using zombie computers. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or way is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 188 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each way once every 24 hours. The rank of each way is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular way of using zombie computers

Zombie computers, also known as botnets, are a network of computers that have been infected with malware and are controlled by a remote attacker. These computers are used to carry out various malicious activities such as spamming, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, stealing personal information, and spreading viruses. One of the most popular ways of using zombie computers is for DDoS attacks. In this type of attack, the attacker uses the botnet to flood a website or server with traffic, making it inaccessible to legitimate users. This can cause significant damage to businesses and organizations, especially those that rely on their online presence for revenue. Another way of using zombie computers is for spamming. The attacker can use the botnet to send out large volumes of spam emails, promoting various products or services. This can be very profitable for the attacker, as they can receive payment for each click on the spam email link. Finally, zombie computers can also be used for stealing personal information. The attacker can use the botnet to infect computers with keyloggers, which capture keystrokes and send them back to the attacker. This can result in the theft of sensitive information such as login credentials, credit card numbers, and social security numbers. Overall, zombie computers are a serious threat to cybersecurity and can cause significant damage to individuals and organizations. It is important to protect your computer and keep your antivirus software up to date to prevent infection.

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