Be warned! If it sounds too good to be true, then know it is too good to be true.
This is the takeaway from a research published yesterday August 6th, 2018 by a US cybersecurity firm Duo Security on crypto related giveaways on Twitter.
According to the company, the infamous trend of Twitter accounts announcing unbelievable cryptocurrency “giveaways” has mushroomed into a network of 15,000 scam bots. The research reveals that some unsuspecting Twitter users are to this day becoming victims of scammers despite widespread publicity of the tactics they employ.
The research was carried out with the help of machine learning algorithms involving 88 million Twitter accounts. Zeroing in on just the last 200 tweets of each of these accounts, the project found 15,000 bots deployed on Twitter to spread misleading data relating to the cryptocurrency industry’s most well known personalities and businesses.
In a press release issue by Duo Security, company data scientist Olabode Anise explained that “Users are likely to trust a tweet more or less depending on how many times it’s been retweeted or liked. Those behind this particular botnet know this, and have designed it to exploit this very tendency.”
Some of the well known personalities who were impersonated in the scams and were purported to be doing large giveaways have responded by changing their Twitter handles to warn unsuspecting users that they were not giving away anything. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is just one of the well known crypto personalities who’d gone through the trouble to change their Twitter handle in such a way.
Twitter users who follow crypto related tweets may realize that such fake bots are so common place on the social media platform that users are increasingly getting used to them.
Explaining the bots further, Olabode Anise said:
“For example, bot accounts will typically tweet in short bursts, causing the average time between tweets to be very low. Documenting these patterns of behavior can also be used to identify other malicious and spam botnets.”
Twitter responded to the research findings by saying that it is “aware” of the problem but it insists that “less than 5% of Twitter accounts are spam-related.”