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Twitter used by illegal online pharmacies to pedal drugs

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New York: Illegal online pharmacies are using Twitter to promote prescription drug abuse of controlled substances.

“This study is the first to establish an empirical link between Twitter content and illicit online pharmacies which promote the illegal sale of drugs that have significant abuse potential,” said study co-author Timothy Mackey from University of California-San Diego.

“Our results are concerning, as the study found over 45,000 tweets that promoted drug abuse even though we only looked at a two-week period of tweets,” Mackey added.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), young adults are the biggest abusers of prescription opioid pain relievers, ADHD stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs.

The study conducted surveillance and content analysis of over two million tweets using the Twitter public streaming application programming interface and used assisted machine learning.

Tweets were analysed to determine if they discussed drug abuse issues, whether they favourably promoted drug abuse behaviour, and were also examined to see if they directly enabled the illegal access to controlled substances by online pharmacies.

Mackey said the study findings are extremely troubling.

“When we examined links included in a subset of the tweets that discussed drug abuse, we discovered that 76 percent of these tweets included a link to an online marketing affiliate advertising the sale of the controlled substance valium, a tranquillizer that is commonly abused,” he said.

Buying prescription drugs from illegal online pharmacies also endanger consumers financial information, putting them at risk of identity theft, according to experts.

The study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR). (IANS) (image courtesy:wsjgadjets.ndtv.com)

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Twitter Confirms Third-Party Involvement in Crypto Hackings

The scam is made to seem more trustworthy as various other compromised accounts reply to the tweet claiming that it works

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Twitter confirms third-party involvement in crypto hackings. Pixabay

Micro-blogging site Twitter has confirmed that a third party software provider is responsible for the series of cryptocurrency-related hackings on its platform.

A Twitter spokesperson said attackers exploited a third-party marketing solution to blast fake Bitcoin giveaway links from a slew of verified accounts, The Next Web reported on Friday.

The confirmation comes days after a number of high-profile public figures and brands including Elon Musk and Google got their accounts breached to propagate malicious cryptocurrency giveaway links.

To make the accounts appear legitimate, the scammers used accounts with Twitter’s own verification mark.

Twitter, India
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

In such cases, clicking on any of the links in the scam guided users to a page where they were urged to send anywhere from 0.1-one Bitcoin to the scammers — with the promise that they would receive one-10 Bitcoin as a reward, the media had reported.

But the victims never received any Bitcoin after sending money to the scammers.

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The scam is made to seem more trustworthy as various other compromised accounts reply to the tweet claiming that it works.

“The confirmation the hackings originated from a third-party app explains how the attackers managed to run the Bitcoin giveaway scam at such a large scale and in such an organised manner,” the report added. (IANS)