Twitter has now confirmed that it was botnets that highjacked the accounts of several cryptocurrency-related twitter individuals and organizations that was noticed recently. The social media company said that bots stole the identities of several accounts.
The menace of bots on Social Media
The problem of botnets on social media is nothing new. Bots which can be used for various positive activities are also deployed to by cyber criminals to attack accounts of social media users. In a period of three days, a network of Twitter bots took over several accounts including that of Verticoin to lure unsuspecting persons to invest in cryptocurrency scams.
Cryptocurrency Scammers impersonating celebrities on Twitter
Another form of crypto-related scams which may be attributed to bots is the impersonation of celebrities and top figures in the cryptocurrency community asking people to donate small amounts of ETH or BTC in exchange for bigger donations from these notable figures. We reported that accounts of Elon Musk, John McAfee, Donald Trump and Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin were all impersonated. Buterin has since changed his Twitter name to include “Not giving away ETH” to discourage attackers.
The lure of cryptocurrency
It’s no surprise that accounts of cryptocurrency personalities were being targeted in these sort of attack. Cryptocurrency has gained a lot of attention since last year following the surge in the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as well as the popularity of Initial Coin Offerings. (ICOs). Furthermore, the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies which makes them hard to trace also makes them appealing to cybercriminals.
Protecting against Bot attacks
It is fairly difficult to protect against the activities of bots in a platform like Twitter. When they attracted cryptocurrency-related accounts last week, it took about three days to quell the menace though Twitter did not state exactly what was done stop it. The fact that affected accounts weren’t particularly vulnerable makes it worrisome. Twitter, however, says it is implementing countermeasures to prevent similar attacks in the future. It’s yet to be seen how effective these measures would be.
Reportedly, in these latest botnet attacks, no bitcoins were gotten and scammers got only a couple of other cryptocurrencies ETH and LTC mainly which amounted to about $1,520. Though this does not represent success on the path of attackers, more similar attempts are expected given the lure of cryptocurrencies.