Why attack Twitter?

The recent high profile attacks on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook may give us a glimpse into the underground world of spammers, crackers, and those who style themselves as 'bot-herders'. As you're probably aware Twitter is a social networking site that allows users to generate short messages or 'tweets' which are then disseminated throughout the internet to a larger audience.

The service started only a few years ago and since then its usage has exploded partly due to its high profile involvement in such recent events as the Iranian presidential election protests. During this incident detailed, on the ground information was limited due to governmental control which disrupted efforts to contact the outside world. Protesters were able to use Twitter though to broadcast real time details on what was happening to the world at large.

These simple concise messages by people experiencing oppression and violence at the hands of their government were seen in real time by millions of people worldwide. The Iranian government was unable to control the flow of information which proved to be a strong message for proponents of free ideas, and showed how emerging technologies and ideas can be effective tools in the fight against censorship.

Why would someone want to hit Twitter with a denial of service attack? Such a dramatic display has given Twitter a very high profile which makes it an attractive target for those wishing to prove their skills in the world of spam proliferation and cracking. Spam is increasingly tied to guerilla marketing campaigns and organized crime which employ 'bot-herders' to deliver their messages via mass marketed spam messages. The bot program allows the bot-herder to control the machine whenever they wish without the owners' consent. Bot-herders can then sell the services of their zombie army to those wishing to send out large amounts of spam, or it could be used to launch a denial of service attack on a target such as a rival businesses website.

Successfully launching such an attack on a service such as Twitter can give someone instant credibility and may help attract new business opportunities. Most people would probably assume that a company such as twitter is well protected against all known internet attacks but that may not be the case. Internet security requires protection on many different fronts, and due to the constantly evolving methods of attack your tools must be able to adapt to the new threats which will inevitably arise. The Internet and new applications such as Twitter remind us how difficult it is has become to control information and to protect organizations against malicious intents.

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The original article/video can be found at Why attack Twitter?

About the Author: Shannon Lewis

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