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What are botnet herds up to?

Johannes B. Ullrich, with whom I had a chat once, did a great post providing us with real-life botnet herds "know how" or the lack of such. And while I agree that these are newbies, they are exploiting another growing trend. The vertical markers Johannes mentions are the result of abusing the affiliate networks themselves. 

Though, how can an affiliate network distinguish traffic coming from botnets, should it count it as malicious one, can they somehow link everything and see the entire picture? They sure can, but as soon as revenues keep coming in, they simply wouldn't. 

The botmasters' mentioned here are primarily acting as domainers, and the possibilities for abuse here are countless. In case you're interested in knowing more about the use and abuse of such networks, I recommend you to go through Ben Edelman's research on affiliate networks, and how easily they get abused. My point is that, if it takes a newbie to start realizing this, imagine the big players, as there are obviously some, at least in respect to the sizes of their botnets :)

If they make a buck for selling access to their resources, still have the opportunity to do it on their own, and cash again while giving instructions on how to "reinfect" yourself, that's a Ecosystem that I mentioned in my recently released "Malware - Future Trends" research. I feel this particular botnet herd is up to experiments, that obviously didn't go unnoticed.

What are your thoughts on the future of botnets, how would they abuse their power in Web 2.0? Week before I release my original publication, someone started coming up with "solutions" on how to abuse Google's AdSense, there's a lot to come for sure!

In case you want to know more about botnets, consider going through the following :

Bots and Botnets: Risks, Issues and Prevention
The Zombie Roundup: Understanding, Detecting, and Disrupting Botnets
Botnets as a Vehicle for Online Crime
Botnets - the threat to the Critical National Infrastructure
Botnet Detection and Response
Tracking Botnets
Robot Wars – How Botnets Work
Worms, Viruses and Botnets - security awareness video

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