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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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Micro-blogging Site Twitter to Audit Developers Using Data From App

Twitter says it suspended 1,62,000 apps in the second half of 2018, showing it is willing to play hardball with developers that endanger its ecosystem

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Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Micro-blogging site Twitter has decided to audit app developers who use data from its platform, as business and research boosting tools to make sure it gets paid for the information delivered.

Starting June 19, developers that use recent tweets from or mention a user more than 100,000 times per day, will have to submit their apps to Twitter for review.

“The goal is ensuring that our platform is safe and promoting the privacy and safety of our users, and providing a level playing field commercially,” TechCrunch quoted Yoel Roth, Head of site integrity, Twitter as saying on Tuesday.

Developers found to be violating Twitter’s policies would be booted from the platform, while those who fail to file for review will be capped at 100,000 requests per day for the user timeline and mentions application programming interfaces (APIs) of Twitter.

“We’re fundamentally different than other platforms that have APIs since almost everything that happens on our service is public,” Roth explained.

donald trump
FILE – A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

Developers who use Twitter data as business tools for customer services or social media monitoring, will have to pay and enter a commercial licencing agreement with the platform with an undisclosed custom price-range based on usage.

“Twitter refused to even specify the range those prices fall into, which won’t win it any extra trust,” the report said.

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If a developer in question presents legitimate consumer-use cases, like running a third-party Twitter client or doing research, it will be granted free access to the API at the same rate they have today.

Twitter says it suspended 1,62,000 apps in the second half of 2018, showing it is willing to play hardball with developers that endanger its ecosystem, the report added. (IANS)