Almost 90,000 of the Twitter accounts have fallen prey to one of the largest spam campaigns on social media. The reason being the Siren Spam Botnet, which is almost 90,000 accounts strong and tweeting porn for months, as per the reports of the security researchers.
People become aware when one after another, accounts were randomly popping up on Twitter posts, including questions like “Want vulgar, young man” or “Boys like you, my figure?” Again, each of these tweets had the links to an apparently innocent URL with a Google shortlink and this would actually lead to a fake dating website or a pornography.
Where it all started?
Security researchers at the ZeroFox had been tracking innumerable of such bot accounts on Twitter, since February, which was involved in spamming the social network with links promoting adult content. They named this Siren after a popular Greek myth.
Each of these accounts projected a half-nude woman as the avatar and had the descriptions and tweets similar to that of a B-Grade Tinder profile. This included an introduction like “I posted another naked photo”, followed by a prompt like “go to the link”.
In the words of Zack Allen, the threat operations manager at ZeroFOX, the situation has really become worse as with 8.5 million tweets, the spam netted more than 30 millions clicks, roughly, depicting nearly four clicks per tweet.
As the story goes:
The inception of Spam has been equivalent to that of the internet, but its up gradation to social media, is a latest occurring. Initially, Botnet attacks were confined to individual victims through emails. But now the target is social media, with almost 2 billion Facebook users.
According to Allen, it’s quite easy to Spam through Social Media as the authorities are still on the quest of a proverbial ‘spam folder’.
The Siren Bots would hit the anti-spam measures by veiling the URLS with some link. First, the URL would get decreased through Twitter, giving the users a short link, which would be further redirected to a google URL, which would pass through the Twitter and Google’s anti-spam detection with ease.
Allen has admitted that ZeroFOX has previously tracked many types of social network-based attacks, but none of them has been on such a large scale or successful as Siren. It is suspected that these attacks are arriving from Eastern Europe, as it is discovered that a large chunk of the bots has noted Russian to be the default language on Twitter.
Further claims from ZeroFOX stated that the 10th of this month have witnessed the removal of all the spam accounts by the social network’s security team and also the black-listening of all the URLs that could be shortened as a disguise.
Lastly, these scams have cost victims thousands of dollars, where the amount is calculated more than $82 million by FBI.