Friday January 18, 2019
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Report: Twitter Again Flooded with ‘Adult Dating’ Bots

Twitter, however, acted upon most of those accounts and shut them

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Twitter
Twitter confirms third-party involvement in crypto hackings. Pixabay

Evading Twitter’s security algorithms, a mass-scale “botnet” advertising “adult dating” scam websites is back and is rapidly growing on the micro-blogging platform.

According to a blog post by Andy Patel, a researcher with the global cyber security firm F-Secure, Twitter had curbed most of the accounts of the earlier botnet called “Pr0nbot” which was discovered in March.

The earlier bot, however, is now back with a bang as “Pr0nbot2”.

“A month and a half ago, I uncovered a series of Twitter accounts advertising adult dating (read: scam) websites. I used a script to recursively query Twitter accounts for specific patterns, and found just over 22,000 Twitter bots using this process,” Patel wrote in a blog post on Friday.

Twitter, however, acted upon most of those accounts and shut them.

Twitter icon.
Twitter. Pixabay

Later, Patel modified his previous script and let it run again. “After 24 hours, my new script had identified just over 20,000 accounts,” he posted.

After four days, his script had found close to 44,000 accounts and eight days later, the total was just over a whopping 80,000.

“I shut down my discovery script at this point, having queried just over 30,000 accounts.

“I’m fairly confident this rabbit hole goes a lot deeper, but it would have taken weeks to query the next 50,000 accounts, not to mention the countless more that would have been added to the list during that time,” Patel said.

Twitter was yet to comment on this development.

The new bots show many similarities to the previously discovered botnet like similar pictures, same URL shortening services, similar usage of the English language.

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However, the bot creaters are re-tooling the new bots based on Twitter’s action against their previous botnet.

“Because these new accounts use a pinned Tweet to advertise their services, we can test this hypothesis by examining the creation dates of the most recent Tweet from each account,” Patel informed.

“My current hypothesis is that the owner of the previous botnet has purchased a batch of Twitter accounts (of varying ages) and has been, at least for the last 21 days, repurposing those accounts to advertise adult dating sites using the new pinned-Tweet approach,” Patel claimed. (IANS)

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A Bug in Twitter Exposes Private Tweets of Some Android Users

Twitter is also facing an investigation by privacy regulators in Ireland over data collection in its link-shortening system

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Twitter
New Twitter bug exposed Android users' private tweets. Pixabay

A bug in Twitter exposed private tweets of some Android users for over five years when they made changes in their settings, like changing the email address linked to their accounts.

According to the micro-blogging platform, the bug (now fixed) disabled the “Protect your Tweets” setting if certain account changes were made on Android devices.

The bug didn’t affect people using Twitter on iOS or desktop, Twitter said on Thursday.

“You may have been impacted by this issue if you had protected Tweets turned on in your settings, used Twitter for Android, and made certain changes to account settings such as changing the email address associated with your account between November 3, 2014, and January 14, 2019.

“People on iOS or the web were not impacted. We fixed the issue on January 14, and we’ll provide updates if other important information becomes available,” Twitter said on its Help page.

The company said it has informed those who were affected by the bug, and has turned “Protect your Tweets” back on for them if it was disabled.

Twitter CEO
Twitter on a smartphone device. VOA

“We encourage you to review your privacy settings to ensure that your aProtect your Tweets’ setting reflects your preferences,” said Twitter, adding it is sorry that this happened.

In May last year, Twitter asked its 336 million users to change their passwords after it discovered a bug that stored passwords in plain text in an internal system.

Twitter said it found no sign that hackers accessed the exposed data but advised users that they should enter a new password on all services where their current password has been used.

Also Read- Android ‘Q’ Expected to Bring System-wide ‘Dark Mode’

Another bug in Twitter’s platform for third-party app developers exposed some Direct Messages (DMs) from nearly 3 million users to outsiders, the micro-blogging platform admitted in September.

The bug ran from May 2017 and after discovering it, Twitter said it fixed the bug to prevent data from being unintentionally sent to the incorrect developer.

Twitter is also facing an investigation by privacy regulators in Ireland over data collection in its link-shortening system. (IANS)