Deployment and exploitation of deceptive honeybots in social networks

Quanyan Zhu, Andrew Clark, Radha Poovendran, Tamer Başar

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


As social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming increasingly popular, a growing number of malicious attacks, such as phishing and malware, are exploiting them. Among these attacks, social botnets have sophisticated infrastructure that leverages compromised user accounts, known as bots, to automate the creation of new social networking accounts for spamming and malware propagation. Traditional defense mechanisms are often passive and reactive to non-zero-day attacks. In this paper, we adopt a proactive approach for enhancing security in social networks by infiltrating botnets with honeybots. We propose an integrated system named SODEXO which can be interfaced with social networking sites for creating deceptive honeybots and leveraging them for gaining information from botnets. We establish a Stackelberg game framework to capture strategic interactions between honeybots and botnets, and use quantitative methods to understand the tradeoffs of honeybots for their deployment and exploitation in social networks. We design a protection and alert system that integrates both microscopic and macroscopic models of honeybots and optimally determines the security strategies for honeybots. We corroborate the proposed mechanism with extensive simulations and comparisons with passive defenses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2013 IEEE 52nd Annual Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2013
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781467357173
StatePublished - 2013
Event52nd IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2013 - Florence, Italy
Duration: Dec 10 2013Dec 13 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control
ISSN (Print)0743-1546
ISSN (Electronic)2576-2370


Other52nd IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Control and Optimization


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