Mariposa was first observed in May of 2009 by Defence Intelligence as an emerging botnet. In recent months, Mariposa has shown a significant increase in beaconing traffic to its command and control servers. This is indicative of an increasingly high number of compromised computers actively participating in the Mariposa botnet.
The most dangerous capability of this botnet is that arbitrary executable programs are downloaded and executed on command. This allows the bot master to infinitely extend the functionality of the malicious software beyond what is implemented during the initial compromise. In addition, the malware can be updated on command to a new variant of the binary, effectively reducing or eliminating the detection rates of traditional host detection methods.