Bot herders using Twitter for command and control

I wrote about my worries on the future of social networking earlier this week. My point was that I was concerned because of the botnet resources some organizations had and how they could take down sites like Twitter and Facebook when they were pissed at someone using those platforms. Well, looks like my worries are over. Why? Because some of those botnets are being controlled by botherders via - you guessed it - Twitter! And if botherders are using Twitter for command and control of their botnets, then it stands to reason that they won't take Twitter down for fear of losing control of the very botnet they are using to attack Twitter, right? RIGHT?? Ugh...

Seriously, this is actually true. The Wired story linked above talks about how the infected "computers were following the Twitter feed “Upd4t3? (now suspended) through its RSS feed." The tweets were "obfuscated links to sites where further malicious code and instructions could be downloaded." That's crazy, but it is not altogether surprising. There are probably quite a few more of these accounts out there. It looks like the Twitter staff is smacking them down as quick as they can find them, but who knows how many and how well they are hiding their activities.

BTW, Ryan Singel, the author of the article, said this:

There’s something ironic about this finding, given that Russian hackers allegedly used a botnet to take Twitter down for two days last week. But we won’t go down that rabbit hole.

Well Ryan, that was a good choice. I went down that hole in the opening paragraph... and now my head hurts.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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