Researchers Discover Big ‘Crypto Giveaway’ Scam Botnet on Twitter with Hope to Stop It

Researchers Discover Big 'Crypto Giveaway' Scam Botnet on Twitter with Hope to Stop It

Twitter has indeed been helpful for the crypto industry. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, said that Bitcoin would be the currency of the internet. However, Twitter has also promoted a significant number of scams, and many argue that the crypto world within Twitter is mostly fake. Most recent research has uncovered a vast amount of bots that mimic legitimate accounts on Twitter to spread scams.

Bots have been all over Twitter for a long time. A few months ago the cryptocurrency Vertcoins Twitter account was hacked by a bot. The bot claimed that Vertcoin was giving away 10 BTC. Luckily Twitter has found a way to hunt these bots down.

By using a machine learning, researchers managed to look through 88 million Twitter accounts, between May and July, for bots and scammers. They managed to identify over 15,000 bots that have evolved and have therefore never been detected, until now. The bots identified legitimate crypto accounts and stole their avatars and nicknames to spread fake links and fake replies.

“Twitter is aware of this form of manipulation and is proactively implementing a number of detections to prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner,” a company spokesperson said.

According to the study and the statement, by revealing the bots, there is a chance that the whole botnet can be exposed. They will use a targeted social network analysis to show a unique three-tiered hierarchal structure. Twitter announced that they are taking more proactive action against both computerized spam and malicious content, identifying and challenging more than 9.9 million potentially automated accounts per week. The botnet also employed bots to amplify a bots action. Amplifying bots are also fake accounts that give “likes” to scam tweets to inflate the tweets popularity and in that way make the scam appear real.

Duo Labs described how the botnet works, in a paper that will be presented at the 2018 Black hat cybersecurity event on Wednesday. However, by revealing some of the bots – they can hopefully find the whole botnet.

The Duo team made the following statement for what the next steps would be:

“By open-sourcing the tools and techniques we developed during this research, we hope to enable researchers to continue building on our work, creating new techniques to identify and flag malicious bots, and helping to keep Twitter and other social networks a place for healthy online discussion and community.”

As the statement says, hopefully, they can be able to work in a way to identify the bots quickly and remove them from Twitter by implementing more innovative techniques. If they succeed, they can help other social platforms to become healthy blockchain communities.

Image Source: “Flickr”

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