How should I understand the word "hijack" in network security?

In Cloudflare's page about the Mirai botnet, there is a sentence:

The Mirai botnet employed a hundred thousand hijacked IoT devices to bring down Dyn.

Does the word "hijacked" mean "be controlled"? or "infected"?

  • 1
    What do you mean by be-controlled or infected? Hijacked is a generic term for some sort of "compromised by malicious party". This isn't the sort of case where there is one definition. It is used in many different ways by different people Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 17:10
  • This isn't a security-specific term. It's just English.
    – schroeder
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


A good translation is being able to control. It doesn't matter whether you control the system via an exploit and installing a backdoor or having an infection vector that connects the device to a bot-net orchestrator or anything similar.

Once you have full control over the system, you have hijacked it.

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