The bots were probably created for sale or rent as fake Twitter followers. Some people and companies purchase fake followers. Why would anyone do that? The main reason is to cover up the low amount of actual real accounts that follow a company or a person. Buying or selling such accounts is against Twitter’s rules, but that doesn’t stop people from manufacturing and selling fake followers.
Through the site buycheaptwitterfollowerfast(.)com you can buy a hundred Twitter followers for the price of a single US dollar. If the hackers used the 3 million accounts in such a way, it’s possible that they made a huge amount of money. It’s still unknown if that was the case. The accounts were active, making 2.6 billion tweets and following millions of other accounts. The whole botnet attack went completely under the radar for a long time, having been discover recently by sadbottrue(.)com .
Why Are Botnets a Threat to Security?
This particular attack is very suspicious, because of the large amount of fake accounts that were registered at once. Sellers of fake Twitter followers avoid making that many accounts at once as to avert suspicion. It’s likely that the creators of the botnet want something more than mere shell account to sell, the entire breach poses a serious security threat. Another troubling question in the whole the story is how Twitter didn’t notice such a huge amount of new accounts in that small a time frame.
Twitter Is No Stranger to Security Breaches
Earlier this month, 32 million accounts[http://sensorstechforum.com/32-million-unique-twitter-accounts-sold-tessa88-hacker/] were compromised in another breach of Twitter. Even the big fishes of the social media circuit aren’t safe from having their Twitter hacked. Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook had his Twitter, and other social media accounts hacked. Even the former CEO of Twitter Dick Costolo got his account hacked!
Twitter accounts were also used to give commands to a botnet, through hashtags and URLs in an attack involving the dangerous Hammertoss malware.