The Socialbot Network

Pierluigi Paganini November 02, 2011

Online Social Networks(OSN) are an integral part of today’s Web.  Hacktivist,Politicians, celebrities, revolutionists, and others use OSNs as carrier for their message to a wide audience.

The downside is that these powerful tools can be used to spread disinformation and propaganda. The next generation of social engineering attacks is even more deceptive; they employ an automation software called a socialbot that controls a profil in an OSN, and has the ability to execute basic online social activities.

In the attached paper, is demostrated how vulnerable OSNs are to a large-scale infltration by socialbots: computer programs that control OSN accounts and mimic real users. Adopting a traditional web-based

botnet design and built a Socialbot Network (SbN): a group of adaptive socialbots that are orchestrated in a command-and-control fashion. In the abstract are proposed tge results obtained using the following OSN Vulnerabilities:

  1. Ineffective CAPTCHAs
  2. Fake User Accounts and Profiles
  3. Crawlable Social Graphs
  4. Exploitable Platforms and API

The results show that OSNs, such as Facebook, can be infiltrated with a success rate of up to 80% depending on users’ privacy settings, a successful infiltration can result in privacy breaches where even more users’ data are exposed when compared to a purely public access, and in practice, OSN security defenses, such as the Facebook Immune System, are not effective enough in detecting or stopping a large scale infiltration as it occurs. I believe that large-scale infiltration in OSNs is only one of many future cyber threats, and defending against such threats is the first step towards maintaining a safer social Web for millions of active web users.


The Socialbot Network: When Bots Socialize for Fame and Money

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