Inside a Porn-Pimping Spam Botnet
For several months I’ve been poking at a decent-sized spam botnet that appears to be used mainly for promoting adult dating sites. Having hit a wall in my research, I decided it might be good to publish what I’ve unearthed so far to see if this dovetails with any other research out there.
In late October 2016, an anonymous source shared with KrebsOnSecurity.com a list of nearly 100 URLs that — when loaded into a Firefox browser — each displayed what appeared to be a crude but otherwise effective “counter” designed to report in real time how many “bots” were reporting in for duty.
Here’s a set of archived screenshots of those counters illustrating how these various botnet controllers keep a running tab of how many “activebots” — hacked servers set up to relay spam — are sitting idly by and waiting for instructions.