Project

An Android botnet that meets at Twitter

Nowadays, online social networking is becoming one of the options for botnet command and control (C&C) communication, and QR codes have been widely used in the area of software automation. In this paper, we exploit QR codes, Twitter, Tor network, and domain generation algorithm to build a newer generation of botnet with high recovery capability and stealthiness. Unlike the traditional centralized botnet, our design achieves dynamic C&C communication channels with no single point of failure. In our design, no cryptographic key is hard-coded on bots. Instead, QR codes and domain generation algorithm are used to store and produce dynamic symmetric and asymmetric keys. By using this approach, botnet C&C communication payload can be ensured in terms of the randomization and confidentiality.
 We implement our design via Twitter and real-world Tor network. According to the experiment results, our design is capable to do C&C communication with low data and minimal CPU usage. The goal of our work is to draw defenders' attention for the cyber abuse of online social networking and Tor network; especially, the searching feature in online social networks provides a covert meet-up channel, and needs to be investigated
 as soon as possible. Finally, we discuss several potential countermeasures to defeat our botnet design.

Project (M.S., Computer Science)--California State University, Sacramento, 2017.

Nowadays, online social networking is becoming one of the options for botnet command and control (C&C) communication, and QR codes have been widely used in the area of software automation. In this paper, we exploit QR codes, Twitter, Tor network, and domain generation algorithm to build a newer generation of botnet with high recovery capability and stealthiness. Unlike the traditional centralized botnet, our design achieves dynamic C&C communication channels with no single point of failure. In our design, no cryptographic key is hard-coded on bots. Instead, QR codes and domain generation algorithm are used to store and produce dynamic symmetric and asymmetric keys. By using this approach, botnet C&C communication payload can be ensured in terms of the randomization and confidentiality. We implement our design via Twitter and real-world Tor network. According to the experiment results, our design is capable to do C&C communication with low data and minimal CPU usage. The goal of our work is to draw defenders' attention for the cyber abuse of online social networking and Tor network; especially, the searching feature in online social networks provides a covert meet-up channel, and needs to be investigated as soon as possible. Finally, we discuss several potential countermeasures to defeat our botnet design.

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