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Botnet Lab

DOI License: MIT

Notice: Unmaintained

This project was originally built for bootstraping botnet-like systems in a understandable way (focusing on a learning-only perspective). However, since then other open-source projects have appear with similar propose, thus this repository is no longer maintained. Some of the best alternatives are:

If you want something more real-world like:

Citing this Work

  author={João Pedro Dias. and José Pedro Pinto. and José Magalhães Cruz.},
  title={A Hands-on Approach on Botnets for Behavior Exploration},
  booktitle={Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Internet of Things, Big Data and Security - Volume 1: WICSPIT,},


The botnet built using this laboratory will match the general architecture for any botnet based on a Command-and-Control (C&C) architecture. Our actor is the Bot Herder or Bot Master, it operates using the a special IRC client (that is part of this laboratory), connects to a IRC-Server (in this case a IRCD-Hybrid based one) where all the bots are connected.

Whenever the Bot Herder sends a message to the IRC Server it broadcast it to all the connected bots that executes the requested job.

Special cases are the Spam request and the Screenshot/Webcam request. In the first case, the Spam, to avoid the trouble of setting up a SMTP server on all the bots we use the Mandrill API for sending the e-mail. While this can appear strange, because of centralizing all the traffic on one e-mail sender API with low free quotas and with the risk of the account being blocked, we send the API Key in the request sended to bots in a way that if a Key it's blocked we can simple send a different API Key on the request sended to the bots. Additionally it's used the PasteBin Service and it's "anonymous and hidden file" hability for hosting relevant data like the the e-mail sending list, API Key and Message and the Bot Herder just needs to send to the bots the files URL.

In the second case, the Screenshot/Webcam, the bots uses the Imgur API for storage the images and just send the URL of that images back to the Bot Herder.

Adding to all of this, it is used the freegeoip and Google Static Map API for getting and showing the relative world position of the controlled hosts.

Also, it's used RSA encryption so the Bot Herder it's the only one capable of decrypt the messages sended by the bots because it's the Private Key owner. The bots encrypts the messages using the Public Key defined by the Bot Herder.

Botnet Lab setup

Minimal requirements

Operative System

Any Windows or Linux system will be capable of building and running the project.


Setup guide

Almost everyone of this steps are commands.

Cloning the repository

  • git clone
  • cd botnet-lab/botnet-lab

Setting up the virtual environment

  • virtualenv venv
  • Starting the created virtual envoirnemnt
    • Linux: . venv/bin/activate
    • Windows: venv\scripts\activate

Installing project dependencies

  • pip install -r requirements.txt
    • This probably will fail at some point, because some of the used librarys are no longer supported or they stoped the development.

So, for each line of the requirements.txt do:

  • pip install <requirement>

If some of this fails try:

  • sudo apt-get install python2.7-dev
  • pip install <requirement> --allow-external <requirement> --allow-unverified <requirement>

If it fails to the best workaround is to search for a valid package. For example the dependency pygame==1.9.2a0 will fail to install.


To make it install on Windows simple go to the Unofficial Windows Binaries for Python Extension Packages from the Univeristy of California and use the respective wheel. For example wiht pygame==1.9.2a0 for Windows 64bit:

  • pip install <path_to_download_folder>/pygame‑1.9.2a0‑cp33‑none‑win_amd64.whl


In Linux there is no generic way of installing all the missing packages. For that we will go throught everyone that may cause problems and present a workaround.

  • pygame: For installing pygame you can use the shell script below. Remember to do this with the venv activated.
sudo apt-get build-dep python-pygame
sudo apt-get install python-dev libsdl-image1.2-dev libsdl-mixer1.2-dev libsdl-ttf2.0-dev libsdl1.2-dev libsmpeg-dev python-numpy subversion libportmidi-dev ffmpeg libswscale-dev libavformat-dev libavcodec-dev libv4l-dev
cd /usr/include/linux
sudo ln -s ../libv4l1-videodev.h videodev.h
tar -xzf pygame-1.9.1release.tar.gz
cd pygame-1.9.1release
sudo python install
rm pygame-1.9.1release.tar.gz
sudo rm -rf pygame-1.9.1release
ln -s /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/pygame venv/lib/python2.7/site-packages/pygame
  • python-xlib: sudo pip install svn+

    • You can have to install svn with sudo apt-get install svn
  • autopy: sudo apt-get install libxtst-dev

Some of the libraries like pyHook and pypiwin32 are Windows-only dependencies, so if you are on a Linux machine don't worry about them.