Social media research group Graphika identified a Twitter botnet of around 3,000 bots deployed to echo pro-Chinese political message released through state propaganda accounts. The botnet is identified by quick sharing of the message and using the same tweet style. Cybersecurity experts commented below on the danger of using these botnets for malicious purposes.
Botnets are increasingly being used for malicious purposes, including misinformation and the spread of malware. Although this particular botnet may not have been malicious, they have the potential to be incredibly dangerous, so it is vital we are more aware of them. We need to focus on making people understand the illicit intent that botnets can have and the damage that can be caused when used en mass. Fact-checking before you share content can go a long way, as well as the use of Twitter’s mute or report buttons if you believe there is the illegitimate use of an account.