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Given the popularity of both smartphones and online social networking, it is only a matter of time before attackers exploit both to launch new types of attacks. In this paper, we propose a new cellular botnet named SoCellBot that exploits online social networks (OSNs) to recruit bots and uses OSN messaging systems as communication channels between bots. Our proposed botnet is the first that uses the OSN platform as a means to control cellular bots. The structure and characteristics of OSNs make this botnet harder to detect, more resilient to bot failures and more cost-effective to cellular bots. Our objective is to raise awareness of new mobile botnets that exploit OSNs to recruit bots so that preventive measures can be implemented to deter this kind of attack in the future. We also analyze the behaviors of the proposed botnet via simulation to offer a better understanding of this new type of botnet.
Date of Conference: April 29 2012-May 2 2012