Feeds

Mexican Twitter-controlled botnet unpicked

The Speedy Gonzales of cybercrime

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Bad PUPPY: Undead Windows XP deposits fresh scamware on lawn
Installing random interwebs shiz will bork your zombie box
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.