The Socialbot Network: When bots socialize for fame and money

Yazan Boshmaf, Ildar Muslukhov, Konstantin Beznosov, Matei Ripeanu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

215 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Online Social Networks (OSNs) have become an integral part of today's Web. Politicians, celebrities, revolutionists, and others use OSNs as a podium to deliver their message to millions of active web users. Unfortunately, in the wrong hands, OSNs can be used to run astroturf campaigns to spread misinformation and propaganda. Such campaigns usually start off by infiltrating a targeted OSN on a large scale. In this paper, we evaluate how vulnerable OSNs are to a large-scale infiltration by socialbots: computer programs that control OSN accounts and mimic real users. We adopt a traditional web-based botnet design and built a Socialbot Network (SbN): a group of adaptive socialbots that are orchestrated in a command-and-control fashion. We operated such an SbN on Facebook-a 750 million user OSN-for about 8 weeks. We collected data related to users' behavior in response to a large-scale infiltration where socialbots were used to connect to a large number of Facebook users. Our results show that (1) OSNs, such as Facebook, can be infiltrated with a success rate of up to 80%, (2) depending on users' privacy settings, a successful infiltration can result in privacy breaches where even more users' data are exposed when compared to a purely public access, and (3) in practice, OSN security defenses, such as the Facebook Immune System, are not effective enough in detecting or stopping a large-scale infiltration as it occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 27th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, ACSAC 2011
Pages93-102
Number of pages10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Event27th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, ACSAC 2011 - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: 5 Dec 20119 Dec 2011

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series

Other

Other27th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, ACSAC 2011
CountryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL
Period5/12/119/12/11

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications

Cite this

Boshmaf, Y., Muslukhov, I., Beznosov, K., & Ripeanu, M. (2011). The Socialbot Network: When bots socialize for fame and money. In Proceedings - 27th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, ACSAC 2011 (pp. 93-102). (ACM International Conference Proceeding Series). https://doi.org/10.1145/2076732.2076746