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Rise of the Autobots: Into the Underground of Social Network Bots

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How do you know that last friend request or Twitter follower was an actual live human being? The truth is...you don't! Bots and bot manufacturers have become rampant in social networks such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter exploiting the trust relationships that make social media work. Why are bots taking control of social networks? It's simple. Social networks are the fastest growing phenomenon of our time. For example, Facebook alone recently reached 150 million potential targets for spammers, malware authors, and other undesirables in 2008. Social networks are only getting bigger and bots will be part of this trend.

This presentation will take you on a journey into the thriving bot underground where bots are manufactured for every purpose imaginable. We will talk about good bots, bad bots, really evil bots, how to identify bots, terminating bots and the future possibility of social network botnets to rule them all.

This was presented at Notacon 6 in Cleveland Ohio.

Published in: Technology, Design
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Rise of the Autobots: Into the Underground of Social Network Bots

  1. 1. Rise of the Autobots Into the Underground of Social Network Bots
  2. 2. Hi! I’m not a bot • Tom Eston • Social Media Security Researcher • Pentester • Bot lover • Blog: spylogic.net • Podcast: securityjustice.com • Tweet me: agent0x0
  3. 3. WARNING! What you are about to see violates the Terms of Service (TOS) and acceptable use policies of social networks! Accounts used in these tests have been deleted or “removed” (not by me...) Don't try this at home! KTHKSBAI
  4. 4. Social Networks
  5. 5. 200 Million Users
  6. 6. 110 Million Users
  7. 7. 35 Million Users
  8. 8. Grew 752% in 2008
  9. 9. 8 Million Visitors in March 2009
  10. 10. quot;Social Networks & Blogs are now the 4th most popular online activity, ahead of personal email.quot; -Nielsen Online Report, March 2009
  11. 11. It’s a target rich environment...
  12. 12. The Culture of Trust
  13. 13. Why is trust important? • It’s how social networks work! • Trust EVERYONE! • Share as much as possible...the social networks don’t mind! • Social networks are mining your data!
  14. 14. Trust exploited by Bots??
  15. 15. Bot or Not?
  16. 16. BOT!! Bot or Not?
  17. 17. Bot or Not?
  18. 18. BOT!! Bot or Not?
  19. 19. FAIL!
  20. 20. Bot or Not?
  21. 21. BOT!! Bot or Not?
  22. 22. Bot or Not?
  23. 23. Not a Bot!
  24. 24. Not a Bot! But still... LOTS OF FAIL!
  25. 25. Bot or Not?
  26. 26. BOT!! Bot or Not?
  27. 27. Biggest Rick Roll ever?
  28. 28. Biggest Rick Roll ever?
  29. 29. Biggest Rick Roll ever?
  30. 30. Biggest Rick Roll ever?
  31. 31. What’s the point? • Trust is easy to exploit! • People will trust bots... • Accounts were created and used with tools we will talk about • Rick Astley is EVIL!
  32. 32. The Rise of the Bots
  33. 33. What are bots? “...perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive at a much higher rate than a human alone.” “Applications that run automated tasks”
  34. 34. Ever see this?
  35. 35. Why use Bots? • Automation...on a mass scale • Easy to use • Multiple purpose • Malware, Blackhat SEO, phishing...pr0n! • Highly Effective
  36. 36. The Bot Underground
  37. 37. “It’s the “Spammers Choice!”
  38. 38. The Underground Business Model • Create and Sell accounts • Buy and Use accounts • Custom bot scripts and software (Freelancing)
  39. 39. It’s all about Blackhat SEO... • Not just for search engine rankings! • Evil Search Engine Optimization techniques... • PPC (Pay Per Click) • PPI (Pay Per Install) • Cookie Stuffing How money is made on the “net”
  40. 40. Want to know more?
  41. 41. What’s for Sale? • Hacked accounts • Hacked accounts w/friends (more friends, more $$) • Webmail accounts (verified) • Bot software/scripts • Services!
  42. 42. Example...
  43. 43. Let’s talk $$ • Facebook w/30+ Friends = $8 • Facebook Phone Verified = $5/$6 • 1,000 Gmail Accounts = $13 • 500 YouTube Accounts = $30
  44. 44. But there are controls in place, right?
  45. 45. What about CAPTCHA?
  46. 46. CAPTCHA=FAIL • Algorithms can be cracked • OCR technology • They have hawt chix • and if that doesn’t work...
  47. 47. OUTSOURCE IT!
  48. 48. OR...use Melissa! She wants you..srsly
  49. 49. What about Friend Request/ Messaging Controls...
  50. 50. Phone SMS Verification? • Great idea! But...can be broken..
  51. 51. It kind of works, but... • Prepaid cell phones • Overseas virtual SMS Services (SMS Receive) • SMS back to ICQ and Yahoo Messenger (works with some socnets)
  52. 52. How about rate Limits? • Easy to bypass...just test it, modify your code and/or slow down!
  53. 53. Types of Bots on Social Networks
  54. 54. Good Bots
  55. 55. Twitter Bots
  56. 56. n0taB0t • Tweets mindless rants.... • Likes to reply to you • Likes Notacon • Mostly harmless
  57. 57. Annoying Bots
  58. 58. Auto Follow/ Reply • Bots looking for “keywords” in your tweets...
  59. 59. Evil Bots
  60. 60. U-Bot
  61. 61. U-Bot in Action
  62. 62. Webdominator
  63. 63. Webdominator in Action
  64. 64. Need help?
  65. 65. Other Pay Services
  66. 66. Realboy • Project to make Twitter bots as human as possible! • Real interactions with your Twitter network • Source code available...
  67. 67. Social Network Botnets? • Malware distribution for C&C • Koobface! • DDos botnet via third-party applications • Facebot! • Control a botnet via Twitter?
  68. 68. Twitter for Botnet C&C • Bot looks for commands on legitimate Twitter accounts • Takes action based on the command • Commands are obfuscated • Proof of Concept code released today at Notacon! • “TwitterBot” created by Robin Wood aka: @digininja
  69. 69. Twitterbot C&C In Action
  70. 70. TwitterBot Enhancements • add a hash (or part of) to the command to stop fake requests • encrypt the whole command (obfuscation) • get the bot to talk back Get it now at: http://www.digininja.org/twitterbot/
  71. 71. Is the end near? How to stop the bots!
  72. 72. Bot detection • Look carefully! • Lots of clues..spammer s are doing it wrong! • Programs/API’s to detect (Twitter specific)
  73. 73. Some possible solutions... • Account creation/message throttling • Why can you still create multiple accounts from the same IP?? WTF? • No more opt-in developer models! • Education of users? We can try...the socnets won’t!
  74. 74. But wait...there’s more! • socialnetworkbots.com • open source project • Twitter and other bots (n0tab0t).... • get the code...don’t use your real account! • Twitterbot Command & Control POC Code: www.digininja.org/twitterbot
  75. 75. Questions?

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