Feeds

Mexican Twitter-controlled botnet unpicked

The Speedy Gonzales of cybercrime

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Security researchers have discovered another botnet that uses Twitter as a command and control channel.

Malware-infected drones in the Mehika Twitter botnet, active in Mexico this summer, take instructions from a Twitter account maintained by hackers instead of conventional command and control servers. The use of Twitter as a botnet command channel was first detected in August 2009 before similar techniques were applied to abuse Facebook profiles as command channels a few months later in November.

Cybercrooks gain a number of advantages in using social networks as alternative command channels, explained Trend Micro senior threat researcher Ranieri Romera.

"Using a social networking site does not require installation, configuration, and command-and-control (C&C) server management," Romera writes. "Instead, posting messages in a specific account can instantly send out commands and instructions to zombies."

Botnet control instructions can easily be lost in the chatter on Twitter, he added.

Rik Ferguson, a UK-based security researcher at Trend Micro, said the Mehika bonnet fell silent almost as soon as it was detected, back in July. "The bot client was located 15 July and this is the date also of all the latest commands seen, so [it was] theoretically down at that date," he told El Reg.

The Mehika bonnet was one of four botnets to affect web users in Mexico analysed in greater depth in a new research paper from Trend Micro, titled Discerning Relationships: The Mexican Botnet Connection, published on Monday. The four zombie networks share the common use of PHP scripts in their construction. The other networks were the Tequila, Mariachi and Alebrije botnets. The zombie networks were collectively involved in all types of cybercrime malfeasance including spamming, phishing and serving as a platform for DDoS attacks. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.