We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
79,470 News Articles

Hackers use Twitter to manage botnet

Tweets contained RSS feed with new instructions

Micro-blogging service Twitter is being used by hackers to control a botnet, says a security researcher.

According to Jose Nazario, manager of security research at Arbor Networks, a now-suspended Twitter account was being used to post tweets that had links to new commands and executables, which would then be used by the botnet code on infected machines.

"I spotted it because a bot uses the RSS feed to get the status updates," Nazario said in a blog.

The traditional way of managing botnets is using IRC, but botnet owners are continuously working on finding new ways of keeping their networks up and running, and Twitter seems to be the latest trick.

The account, called 'Upd4t', is under investigation by Twitter's security team, according to Nazario. But the account is just one of what appear to be a handful of Twitter command and control accounts, Nazario said.

Botnets can, for example, be used to send spam or carry out distributed denial-of-service attacks, which Twitter itself became the victim of last week. The botnet Nazario found is "an infostealer operation", a type that can be used to steal sensitive information such as login credentials from infected computers.

Broadband speed test

PC Security advice

See also: Twitter users targeted by Koobface again


IDG UK Sites

Sony PlayStation 5 release date, price and specs UK: When is the PS5 coming out?

IDG UK Sites

New Apple TV release date rumours, features: 'new Apple TV next week' rumour

IDG UK Sites

Mobile email is powerful and useful - but also hopelessly intrusive

IDG UK Sites

How the Oculus Rift VR headset is helping train the surgeons of tomorrow