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Researchers Unleash Human-Like Botnet; Chameleon Mines $6 million a Month

Researchers at Spider.io discovered a ‘human-like’ botnet counting over 120,000 infected systems, and costing advertisers more than $6 million a month, according to Spider.io. Chameleon is the first botnet to directly impact display advertisers rather than text-link advertisers.

Researchers Unleash Human-Like Botnet; Chameleon Mines $6 million a Month“At least 7 million distinct ad-exchange cookies are associated with the botnet per month,” the researchers said. “Advertisers are currently paying $0.69 CPM on average to serve display ad impressions to the botnet.”

By simulating human activity, the click-fraud botnet was used to steal money from unwary advertisers on over 200 websites, hijacking at least 65 percent of their traffic from ads. Most infected machines accessed the Web from US IP addresses.

“I’m not aware of any other botnet that tries to impersonate human beings as a way to siphon off advertising dollars,” DataXu’s vice president of innovation, Christian Carrillo, told CSO Online. The marketing software company provided forensic data to Spider.io, and said this was probably the most unusual botnet they have monitored.

The research team has analyzed Chameleon’s behavior since December last year 2012, and managed to extract a blacklist of 5,000 IP addresses of its worst bots.

About The Author

Security Specialist

Bianca Stanescu, the fiercest warrior princess in the Bitdefender news palace, is a down-to-earth journalist, who’s always on to a cybertrendy story. She’s the industry news guru, who’ll always keep a close eye on the AV movers and shakers and report their deeds from a fresh new perspective. Proud mother of one, she covers parental control topics, with a view to valiantly cutting a safe path for children through the Internet thicket. She likes to let words and facts speak for themselves.

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