Feeds

Mexican Twitter-controlled botnet unpicked

The Speedy Gonzales of cybercrime

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.