Social media and advertising fraud investigations firm Sadbottrue has discovered a botnet of three million Twitter accounts, along with two smaller botnets of 100,000 bots each, which they suspect to be behind online services that sell or rent Twitter followers.
Selling Twitter followers is a lucrative business, even if Twitter forbids it. People crave attention, and companies don't want to embarrass themselves by having only 100 followers.
Usually, services that do sell Twitter followers, leverage botnets of a few thousand bots, which at the push of a button will become your followers.
Registering millions of Twitter accounts is out of the question since Twitter's staff might very easily detect a huge spike in new user account registration and investigate, exposing the botnet.
But that's exactly what happened, according to Sadbottrue, who discovered a huge botnet that was registered on the same day, on April 17, 2014. That's about 35.4 registrations per second.
The crooks behind this botnet also managed to synchronize their Twitter usernames with the Twitter ID. The Twitter account ID is usually assigned to a user after he registers, so a few tests were probably carried out in advance.