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Although the Twitter botnet discovered by Zero FOX has since been dismantled, it not hard to see how this same approach could be very effective at spreading malware.
Keep your wits about you while using or cruising social media sites, and be wary of any posts or profiles that match the descriptions and behavior of the bot accounts described here.
The accounts advertise adult content by routinely injecting links from their twitter profiles to a popular hashtag, or by @-mentioning a popular user or influencer on Twitter.
After Ashley Madison’s user databases were plundered and published online, the company admitted that its service used at least 70,000 female chatbots that were programmed to message new users and try to entice them into replying — which required a paid account.
“Many of the sites’ policies claim that the site owners operate most of the profiles,” Zero FOX charged.
“They also have overbearing policies that can use personally information of their customers to send to other affiliate programs, yielding more spam to the victim.
Much like the infamous ‘partnerka’ networks from the Russian Business Network, money is paid out via clicks and signups on affiliate programs” [links added].