Uses of botnets

From The Honeynet Project & Research Alliance’s “Know your Enemy: Tracking Botnets” (13 March 2005):

“A botnet is comparable to compulsory military service for windows boxes” – Stromberg

… Based on the data we captured, the possibilities to use botnets can be categorized as listed below. …

  1. Distributed Denial-of-Service Attacks

    Most commonly implemented and also very often used are TCP SYN and UDP flood attacks. Script kiddies apparently consider DDoS an appropriate solution to every social problem. … run commercial DDoS attacks against competing corporations … DDoS attacks are not limited to web servers, virtually any service available on the Internet can be the target of such an attack. … very specific attacks, such as running exhausting search queries on bulletin boards or recursive HTTP-floods on the victim’s website.

  2. Spamming

    open a SOCKS v4/v5 proxy … send massive amounts of bulk email … harvest email-addresses … phishing-mails

  3. Sniffing Traffic

    use a packet sniffer to watch for interesting clear-text data passing by a compromised machine. … If a machine is compromised more than once and also a member of more than one botnet, the packet sniffing allows to gather the key information of the other botnet. Thus it is possible to “steal” another botnet.

  4. Keylogging
  5. Spreading new malware

    In most cases, botnets are used to spread new bots. … spreading an email virus using a botnet is a very nice idea

  6. Installing Advertisement Addons and Browser Helper Objects (BHOs)

    setting up a fake website with some advertisements … these clicks can be “automated” so that instantly a few thousand bots click on the pop-ups. … hijacks the start-page of a compromised machine so that the “clicks” are executed each time the victim uses the browser.

  7. Google AdSense abuse

    … leveraging his botnet to click on these advertisements in an automated fashion and thus artificially increments the click counter.

  8. Attacking IRC Chat Networks

    attacks against Internet Relay Chat (IRC) networks. … so called “clone attack”: In this kind of attack, the controller orders each bot to connect a large number of clones to the victim IRC network.

  9. Manipulating online polls/games

    Online polls/games are getting more and more attention and it is rather easy to manipulate them with botnets.

  10. Mass identity theft

    Bogus emails (“phishing mails”) … also host multiple fake websites pretending to be Ebay, PayPal, or a bank …