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Researchers Buy Twitter Bots To Fight Twitter Spam

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the fight-fire-with-fire dept.

Twitter 45

tsu doh nimh writes "The success of social networking community Twitter has given rise to an entire shadow economy that peddles dummy Twitter accounts by the thousands, primarily to spammers, scammers and malware purveyors. But new research on identifying bogus accounts has helped Twitter to drastically deplete the stockpile of existing accounts for sale, and holds the promise of driving up costs for both vendors of these shady services and their customers. Krebsonsecurity.com writes about a paper (PDF) being released today at the USENIX conference that details how researchers spent almost a year and $5,000 buying up accounts from 27 twitter account merchants, and then built templates to help Twitter detect accounts sold by these merchants — all with the aim of getting more of these bot accounts shut down before they can be used to spam legitimate Twitter users. The story goes into great detail on the lengths to which these account merchants will go to evade Twitter's anti-bot security measures."

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45 comments

UNISEX conference? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44570091)

I'm afraid.

Email Statistics (1)

Elgonn (921934) | about 8 months ago | (#44570103)

Does hotmail have no security at all to detect bot created accounts? 60+% of all them. That's ridiculous.

Re:Email Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44570233)

what about twitter?... they probably don't care because the more accounts they have, the more $ they get

Re:Email Statistics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44570403)

A *black person* in a community could be an asset to that community.

A lot of *black people* in a community means the biggest detriment a community or neighborhood can possibly suffer. With them comes rampant theft, violence, gangsta culture, graffiti, fearing for your safety, drug abuse, fatherless children, declineing property values, skyrocketing costs of law enforcement and social services, and those who produce and contribute the most are the ones most able to get out and go someplace else.

When lots of blacks start showing up in your neighborhood the smart person gets the fuck out of dodge. You know why? Smart people don't care about political correctness, about proving how not-racist and egalitarian they are, etc. No. Those are the koolaid for the dumb masses to drink. Smart people care about reality. They make decisions for them and their families based on observable predictable repeating patterns of reality. If every time a mountain released smoke and had earthquakes there was a terrible volcanic eruption, and you live near a mountain, and it starts doing this, you get the fuck out. Not because you hate the mountain, not because you think it is inferior to other mountains, not because you don't like its color. No, you get the fuck out because you don't want to be buried in a pyroclastic flow. Because that is the reality. It is the same way when lots of blacks move in. It is nothing personal.

I have no idea if blacks are the harbingers of doom for a neighborhood because they are genetically inferior. A racist would say yes, that is why - the belief that a race is genetically superior to another is the very definition of racism after all. Someone else may say it is because of their culture of violence, because of the way black children who study are beaten up by other black children for "acting white". Yet somebody else might say it is because they are broken by slavery 100 years ago and full of hate and never recovered. It doesn't matter really. It is academic. All I know is when blacks ever started eyeballing my neighborhood, me and my family are getting out. That is reality. I don't even like it, but it is reality. Maybe I don't like gravity but falling off a cliff is still a bad idea. The person who denies reality is insane.

It is not just neighborhoods of course. There are no majority-black, black-governed nations that are pleasant, stable, prosperous, peaceful, safe places to live in. Even in the case of Haiti, a prosperous and successful nation was HANDED OVER to the blacks and they were turned loose to work out their own destiny free of white interference. How much would you like to move to Haiti right now? Didn't think so.

An individual black person could be brilliant and kind and wise. Lots of blacks in a neighborhood is like lots of flies on a horse. It means the horse is dead or dying. I mean flies serve a useful niche in the environment, helping to break down matter most other creatures cannot use. Sadly I do not know of any such useful niche served by the black community at large unless you think the private prison system is inherently useful.

Re:Email Statistics (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about 8 months ago | (#44575945)

So rare to see a though provoking, well written piece from Stormfront.org. The best part was this: If every time a mountain released smoke and had earthquakes there was a terrible volcanic eruption, and you live near a mountain, and it starts doing this, you get the fuck out. Not because you hate the mountain, not because you think it is inferior to other mountains, not because you don't like its color. No, you get the fuck out because you don't want to be buried in a pyroclastic flow.
I will be honest. I hate Volcanoes. I Do think they are inferior to other mountains. I do hate their color. Does this make me a mountain racist? No because there is no such thing. So the only think I do agree with is 'I don't want to be buried in a pyroclastic flow.'
Finally, are you leaving this country? Its leader is black currently.

Twitter won't let you filter spam (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 8 months ago | (#44570107)

Of course Twitter is a spam magnet. Twitter won't let people write Twitter clients with spam filters.

Re:Twitter won't let you filter spam (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44570299)

its lose / lose most of the bots are more intelligent than the twats

I dont care what you have just had for lunch

Re:Twitter won't let you filter spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44571953)

If they are more intelligent than the twats, then I say mission fucking accomplished!

There are legitimate Twitter users? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44570213)

Now you're just making stuff up.

Re:There are legitimate Twitter users? (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 8 months ago | (#44572421)

No no it's real. There are twitter users who are actual persons.
For example :"Hey look at this product, it's awesome and with an affordable price tag. I am using it without problem for months!" is clearly a cheap twitbot, while "OMG LOST MATCH AGAIN DAAAAAMN!!!!1!" is clearly the product of a human brain.

Here's $5000, now stop doing that (0)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 8 months ago | (#44570291)

They gave $5000 to Twitter account merchants. It doesn't seem to me that was the smartest thing to do with the money if you actually want to discourage this kind of activity.

Re:Here's $5000, now stop doing that (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 8 months ago | (#44570397)

They gave $5000 to Twitter account merchants. It doesn't seem to me that was the smartest thing to do with the money if you actually want to discourage this kind of activity.

I had the same idea, but now I wonder how much they managed to raise autogenerated twitter account price. 5000 USD could be seen as an investment

Re:Here's $5000, now stop doing that (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 8 months ago | (#44571905)

They gave $5000 to Twitter account merchants. It doesn't seem to me that was the smartest thing to do with the money if you actually want to discourage this kind of activity.

If by spending $5,000 you manage to get information that leads to $100,000 worth of accounts being disabled before they can be used and increases the cost of creating new accounts then it seems to me like it's a very good way to discourage that activity.

i always knew (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44570333)

Those university guys are not that smart after all

Great Idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44570347)

Now...how can I get these guys to buy $5,000 worth of Anonymous Coward accounts....

Very easy to get rid of the majority of spam (3, Insightful)

JazzXP (770338) | about 8 months ago | (#44570349)

Twitter should be blocking any post that is only a link sent to someone they've never interacted with before. That would remove 90% of the spam I receive there.

Re:Very easy to get rid of the majority of spam (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about 8 months ago | (#44575981)

How the hell can I rickroll, goatse or send annoying pics of ufly ass things to you then?

Israel is buying 500 of these twitter spammers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44570355)

to combat anyone who says we shouldn't invest in their warmongering with astroturfing ostensibly posted by "legitimate people"

Re:Israel is buying 500 of these twitter spammers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44570571)

to combat anyone who says we shouldn't invest in their warmongering with astroturfing ostensibly posted by "legitimate people"

why would the zionists bother? when you own entire media conglomerates twitter is small potatos. the secular zionist jews who run our media can make any story they want into "reality" and the twitter people will use those news releases as sources and talking points.

I've gone this long... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44570369)

...without ever having visited twitter.com. It doesn't sound like I've missed much.

Ahh, the internet...

Re:I've gone this long... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44570819)

...without ever having visited twitter.com. It doesn't sound like I've missed much.

Ahh, the internet...

just like I have never once visited facebook.com. not ever.

when huge masses of people, seemingly overnight, all start doing something they didn't do before*, you can be certain it's unnecessary and probably stupid and useless.

* they didn't do before. yes that's right. so eating or sleeping etc. don't fit my criteria. had to put that in there because too many ppl on this site aren't nearly so clever and insightful as they think they are, it's just that Mama didn't have the heart to tell you that.

Re:I've gone this long... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44570945)

Don't ever use an email address, I've heard it's full of spam !

Who cares (0)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 8 months ago | (#44570467)

Twitter could shut down tomorrow and I could give zero fucks about the loss.

Re:Who cares (4, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 8 months ago | (#44570593)

You heard it here first, folks: Forget BitCoin , FUCKS are The Currency Of The Future!

Which , by definition, makes most slashdot'ers as poor as dirt.

Re:Who cares (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 8 months ago | (#44570737)

You haven't been hoarding yours like the rest of us?

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44571933)

Of course I hoard mine, most of the time I don't give a fuck.

Re: Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44572095)

I thought that currency had been in use by woman since the dawn of mankind?

How about t.co spam? (1)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 8 months ago | (#44571173)

Nearly every spam I get these days uses the t.co link shortener to disguise the destination of the links. I report every one through Spamcop, which reports them to abuse@twitter.com, but it never seems to make a difference.

What good is one of those twitter accounts? (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 8 months ago | (#44571961)

Why would anyone pay money to buy an account that lets you tell people what color your belly-button lint is today?

In order to get anyone to read a feed off twitter.com, you have to get them to subscribe to it -- if you go to twitter.com all you get is a sign-up form, you can't even browse or search to see what the site is about. You certainly can't find some randomly created account -- this scam seems pointless.

Of what possible use is one of these auto-generated accounts? The article does not explain.

Anyone?

Re:What good is one of those twitter accounts? (1)

rich_hudds (1360617) | about 8 months ago | (#44572217)

Record companies use the number of followers a band has when they are considering signing them up.

Just one example, there are lots more.

Re:What good is one of those twitter accounts? (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 8 months ago | (#44572239)

That sounds like an error at the record company, not at Twitter.

Re:What good is one of those twitter accounts? (1)

fatgraham (307614) | about 8 months ago | (#44572295)

I'd imagine the record company could want to hijack 's twitter account to peddle other bands to their followers to generate sales & hype... Doesn't seem too unreasonable? To record companies, bands are just an tool to make them money right?
Their twitter account could then become just another advertising stream until the next fad comes along

Re:What good is one of those twitter accounts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44572593)

The bands get the fake accounts in order to get signed up.

Celbrities get fake followers to increse their 'brands' worth.

Re:What good is one of those twitter accounts? (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 8 months ago | (#44576567)

Again, the only problem here is with those who perceive "followers" to have any value whatsoever.

The stupid, it burns (1)

Arrogant-Bastard (141720) | about 8 months ago | (#44572279)

Let's put aside for a moment that Twitter is one of the very stupidest things to come along in quite some time: a service for illiterate chimpanzees with attention-deficit disorder, as nobody of worth or value would bother reading or writing 140 characters at a time. Let's just pretend, for the sake of argument, that it's a useful service worth defending.

First, putting money into the pockets of its adversaries is idiotic.

Second, pretending that content/context filtering based on examination of their CURRENT methods will work TOMORROW is equally idiotic. (This is a recurring mistake among many wanna-be anti-spammers: they blithely presume that spammers will sit on their hands while countermeasures are developed and deployed, even though the multi-decade history of spammers demonstrates conclusively that they will not.)

Third, pretending that countermeasures which may be temporarily successful against a subset of spammers will enjoy long-term success against a significantly larger set of spammers is wishful thinking. (This is another recurring mistake among the wanna-be's: they don't realize that they've targeted the least-competent spammers. They're too busy patting themselves on the back to realize that all they've really accomplished is to clear the playing field for the professionals.)

Fourth, these researchers have failed -- completely -- to account for the presence of spammer allies inside Twitter. It is of course short-sighted, naive and very stupid to neglect this, since it's obvious on inspection that a nonzero number of Twitter staff are complicit in spamming activities. (And why not? The chances they'll be caught are tiny. The extra income is tax-free. And they can take multiple payoffs from multiple people for doing the same thing. Unless one wishes to make the patently absurd argument that 100.000% of Twitter employees are incorruptible, which of course is laughable and instantly disqualifies the speaker from serious conversation.)

The bottom line is that Twitter made a fundamental error before they even launched: they failed to perform an adversarial analysis, to ask themselves "how can our service be abused?" and then modify the design to deal with as many answers to that as possible. (This is hardly unique: many others have made the exact same mistake. Some are making it today.) Their failure to perform this analysis BEFORE finalizing design and deployment means that they're now left trying to backfill it. That has never worked. It's not working now. It's not going to work. So this little endeavor represents merely some feeble half-hearted attempt to deal with a tiny piece of an enormous problem...and event that attempt is doomed to fail as soon as spammers find it to be an inconvenience.

Best way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44572971)

The best way to get rid of spammers, malware pushers and other scumbags is to reduce their profit potential and increase their risks. The best way to do that is prosecute and throw them in prison for long periods of time. This kind of activity is what laws like the "Computer fraud and abuse act" is supposed to be for. Of course you'll need honest governments and international co-operation so I'm not holding my breath.

With all their illegal monitoring you know the NSA and their foreign equivalents know exactly who these scumbags are and where they are. All we need to do is declare them cyber terrorists and loose the hounds on them!

Re:Best way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44574777)

It's not easy to throw a piece of code into a prison.

Or are you like the politicians and other derps that think online events, transfers of data, posting of content, etc. are somehow innately tied to a human? To a traceable identity? Just because YOU have a facebook account (singing your details and life story) doesn't mean everything on the net has a face.

You'll have an easier time prosecuting lost dog/yard sale signs on telephone poles.

-Falos

Re:Best way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44579543)

It's not easy to throw a piece of code into a prison.

Pieces of code do not just pop into existence, just follow the money. Those spammers may not be the ones who actually wrote the code but they are the ones guilty of using it.

5 de mis mejores consejos del edificio del mú (1)

hedmorq (3023603) | about 8 months ago | (#44605363)

Antes de compartir mis 5 mejores consejos del edificio del músculo con usted, quiero contarles un poco sobre mí. La razón por la que hago esto es para que sepa que usted está escuchando a alguien que realmente tiene experiencia en la construcción de músculo. Dicho esto, permítanme compartir con ustedes mi historia, y luego voy a compartir mi top 5 mejores consejos del edificio del músculo con usted. Cuando estaba en la escuela secundaria, yo era muy flaco. Yo fui uno de los niños scrawniest de mi clase. No importa lo que yo hice, no pude subir de peso. Mi amigo, Tony, que en realidad pasó a jugar la División 1 decamisetas de futbol [shirt-football.es], era una bestia. Simplemente no lo entiendo. Todo lo que hizo fue comer mantequilla de maní y mermelada, levantar pesas, y se las arregló para conseguir grandes. Por qué no se esta trabajando para mí? Al final resultó que, tenía un metabolismo mucho más rápido que mi amigo, Tony, y siguiendo exactamente lo que estaba haciendo, yo no estaba haciendo lo correcto para mi cuerpo. Con los años, he aprendido a seguir un programa que era correcto para mí, y desde entonces, me las he arreglado para construir más de 30 libras de masa muscular magra. Cómo lo hago? Este es el aspecto más importante de la construcción de músculo. Si usted no está comiendo lo suficiente, usted nunca va a crecer. La clave para la construcción de músculo es comer alimentos, y punto. Usted va a querer comer 500 calorías por encima de mantenimiento, y usted también va a querer estar seguro de que el 50% de sus calorías provienen de carbohidratos, 30% de proteínas y 20% de grasas. La mejor manera de construir músculo es hacer un plan de alimentación con base en torno a estos requisitos, comer la misma comida todos los días, y simplemente seguir consumiendo hasta que comience a aumentar de peso. 2. Siga el programa de entrenamiento adecuado. No todos los programas se reunió para construir músculo de manera óptima. Te recomiendo seguir un programa con una fracción de 3 días. Esto significa que usted va a entrenar el pecho y tríceps en un día, espalda y bíceps en otro día, y las piernas y los hombros de otro día. A continuación, repita la secuencia. En mi experiencia, esta división produce los resultados más eficaces para los flacos tratando de construir músculo. 3. Centrarse en el tiempo bajo tensión. Casi el 99,9% de los chicos que veo en el gimnasio deje su ego se interponga en el camino de la buena forma. Si usted realmente desea aumentar el tamaño, reducir la cantidad de peso en la barra, la práctica de la buena forma, y realmente se centran en la parte negativa de la elevación. La parte excéntrica del ascensor en realidad activa el crecimiento muscular. Al hacer esto, recuerde que cada juego debe tener entre 40 y 60 segundos en completarse. Si usted está recibiendo un conjunto hecho en un corto período de tiempo, usted no está entrenando sus músculos de manera óptima para el tamaño. Sé que todo el mundo le dice que usted necesita para levantar pesados con el fin de crecer. Esto no es cierto. Es necesario concentrarse en un peso que le permitirá golpear el rango de 8 a 12 repeticiones, como de 8 a 12 repeticiones es óptimo para la construcción de tamaño muscular. Si no me crees, ver algunos videos de buena reputación en línea, y usted verá que la mayoría de los gurús de fitness le dirá lo mismo. Encontrar a alguien que escuche, y enfermos con ellos. El problema para muchos chicos tienen es que mantienen obtener asesoramiento de diferentes personas, y nunca elegir algo y aferrarse a él. Si usted realmente desea conseguir resultados, es necesario escoger una persona, siga sus consejos, y aferrarse a él. Es probable que, si usted está siguiendo varias piezas de asesoramiento a la vez, van a ser atrapado, haciendo girar sus ruedas. En cuanto a los complementos, me gustaría ver en es proteína de suero y creatina. Espero que hayan disfrutado las puntas, y espero que le ayudará a conseguir el cuerpo que usted desea.
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