The Perfect Cybercrime: Selling Fake Followers to Fake People (New Scientist)


Hackers are recruiting the internet of things into a botnet. But this time they’re not trying to take down the internet. They’re just using them to make fake social media accounts – which they can then sell to online narcissists to make an easy buck.

Masarah-Cynthia Paquet-Clouston, a criminologist with the University of Montreal, and Olivier Bilodeau, a cybersecurity researcher at Montreal-based company GoSecure, have uncovered a large botnet that recruits everyday devices such as connected toasters, fridges or even your grandmother’s router to help commit social media fraud. They think that this stealthy, lucrative scheme is a glimpse into the future of low-level cybercrime.

Bilodeau had been tracking the Linux/Moose malware, which infects routers and other smart devices to turn them into a botnet, for a few years when it went dormant.