Cybersecurity firm Nisos discovered that the Fronton botnet, which was first discovered by a hacktivist group to have been created on behalf of Russia's intelligence service, had more extensive capabilities beyond enabling distributed denial-of-service attacks, ZDNet reports.
Aside from allowing widespread DDoS attacks, Fronton was developed to facilitate "coordinated inauthentic behavior," with its SANA software enabling misinformation and accelerated propaganda spread across social media, according to researchers.
The report also revealed that SANA had a web-based dashboard, with features that permitted message, trend, and response monitoring; bot management; bot function creation; message and content reaction models; keyword storage; and platform bot account storage.
"The configurator also allows the operator to specify a minimum frequency of actions, and a minimum interval between actions. It also appears that there is a machine learning (ML) system involved that can be turned on or off based on behavior observed on social media," said researchers.