Archive for the 'spam' Category

Twitter Must Make it Easy to Mass-Report Spam Bots

I found a network of Russian female bots. Twitter spam bots.

They are not actually female. They just have Russian female names and female photos.

Most of those that I found were created in September 2016, although some were created at other times.

They all have similar taglines:

  • “In my opinion, everything is wonderful. I wonder what else” (“По-моему всё прекрасно. Интересно что ещё”)
  • “Right now absolutely everything is excellent. I wonder how else” (“Сейчас вообще всё отлично. Интересно как там ещё”)
  • “It looks like absolutely everything is wonderful. I’ll see what will happen next” (“Вроде вообще всё прекрасно. Посмотрю что будет дальше”)

… And so forth, with minor variations, which are very easy to detect for a human who knows Russian, although I’m less sure about software. (This reminds me of how I was interviewed for several natural language processing positions around 2011. All of them were about optimizing site text for Google ads, and all of them specifically targeted only English. When you only target English, other languages are used to spam you.)

Their usernames are all almost random and end with two digits: flowoghub90, viotrondo86, chirowsga88 (although “90” seem to be the most frequent digits). As location, they all indicate one of the large cities of Russia: Moscow, Krasnoyarsk, Perm, Saint-Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, etc.

All of them post nothing but retweets of other accounts popular in Russia:

Curiously, all their names are only typical to ethnic Russians. Names of real women from Russia would be much more varied—there would be a lot of typical Armenian, Ukrainian, Jewish, Georgian, and Tatar names that reflect Russia’s diversity: Melikyan, Petrenko, Rivkind, Gamkrelidze, Khamitova. But these spam bot accounts only have names such as Kuznetsova, Romanova, Ershova, Medvedeva, Kiseleva. If you aren’t familiar with the Russian culture, let me make a comparison to the U.S.: It’s like having a lot of people named Smith, Harris, Anderson, and Roberts, and nobody named Gonzalez, Khan, O’Connor, Rosenberg, or Kim. Maybe the spammers wanted to be more mainstream than mainstream, and maybe it is just overt racism.

I found them when I noticed that a lot of unfamiliar accounts with Russian female names were retweeting something by Pavel Durov in which I was mentioned. Durov is the founder of VK and Telegram, and I guess that he can be classified under “major internet businesses” in the list above. I noticed the similar taglines of the “women”, and immediately understood they are all spam bots.

These accounts are active. Some of them retweeted stuff while I was writing this post. I also keep getting retweet notifications, more than two weeks after Durov’s original tweet was posted.

When I am looking at any of these accounts, Twitter suggests me similar ones, and they are all in the same network: Russian female names, similar “everything is wonderful” taglines, similar content. So Twitter’s software understands that they are similar, but doesn’t understand that they are spam bots that should be utterly banned. I also noticed that some of them are still suggested to me after I blocked them, which goes against the whole point of blocking.

I don’t know how many there are of them in this network. Likely thousands. I reported thirty or so, and I wonder whether it’s efficient for anything.

I also don’t know what is their purpose. Boost the popularity of other Russian accounts? But those that they retweet are popular already. Waste the time of people who try to use Twitter productively? Maybe; at least it’s the effect in my case. Function as bot followers in “pay to follow” networks? Possibly, but they have existed for a year, and they don’t follow so many people.

I’m probably not discovering anything very new in this post. But especially if I don’t, it all the more makes me wonder why isn’t this problem already addressed somehow. At the very least it should be possible to report them more efficiently with one click or tap. And Twitter should also provide a form for mass-reporting; currently, Twitter’s guides about spam only suggest this: “The most effective way to report spam is to go directly to the offending account profile, click the drop-down menu in the upper right corner, and select “report account as spam” from the list.” It’s OK for one account, but it requires five clicks, and it doesn’t scale for something as systematic as what I am describing in this post.

I do hope that somebody from Twitter will read this and do something about it. This is obvious systematic abuse, and I have no better way to report it.

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Serbian Spam

I always celebrate when I receive spam in a language in which I haven’t yet received spam. I just received spam in Serbian for the first time. It was in the Cyrillic alphabet; Serbian can also be written in Latin, and it is frequently done in Serbia, possibly even more frequently than in Cyrillic, even though the government prefers Cyrillic.

This makes me wonder: Is Serbian in Cyrillic popular and important enough for spamming in it, or did the silly spammer just use Google Translate to translate to Serbian and got the result in Cyrillic, because that’s what Google Translate does?

If you know Serbian, can you please tell me whether it looks real or machine-translated? Words like “5иеарс” and the spaces before the punctuation marks give me a strong suspicion that it’s machine translation, but I might be wrong.

Молим вас за попустљивост за нежељене природи овог писма , али је рођена из очаја и тренутног развоја . Молимо носе са мном . Моје име је сер Алекс Бењамин Хубертревизор Африке развојне банке открио постојећи налог за успавану 5иеарс .

Када сам открио да није било ни наставак ни исплате са овог рачуна на овог дугог периода и наши банкарских закона предвиђа да ће било неупотребљивим чине више од 5иеарс иду на банковни прихода као неостварен фонда .

Ја сам се распитивала за личне депонента и његове најближе , али нажалост ,депонент и његове најближе преминуо на путу до Сенегала за тајкун , а он је оставио иза себе нема тело за ову тврдњу само сам направио ову истрагу само да буде двоструко сигурни у ту чињеницу , а пошто сам био неуспешан у лоцирању родбину .

So, how does it look? And do you receive Serbian spam? Thanks.

Chronia Polla!

I received spam in Greek for the first time. I already received a lot of spam in Hebrew, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hindi, Russian, Arabic, Farsi and Armenian. It’s a shame really – in the ancient times Greek was far more important. Χρόνια Πολλά – Καλές Γιορτές!

Wish, part 3

Hmm.

Someone left a comment on my post Wish, part 2. The comment was relevant, but it also included a spammish URL about Viagra.

What the hell is going on with the world?

Thinking About the Spammer

Once i used to read most of the spam that i received. Then it became too much and i started reading only spam in Hebrew, which is quite different from the English and Chinese varieties. But now even that is too much. Lately i ignore most of it. It’s a bit unfortunate, because it is a curious bit of human culture.

Today i received a message with this subject: “Gay Sex Tanned guy bangs a friends ass”. The content was auto-generated near-gibberish of weird words, such as “blackstrap ghostless shikargah , spermatocidal sahara dewormed”. I’s probably supposed to trick spam filters. But there was nothing except it: No dirty images, no link to a porno site, no advertising.

Most people don’t give a damn, but i wonder: Is it just totally pointless waste of bandwidth? Is it supposed to trick me into trying to reply to this email and verify that my email address is right? Did the spammer send the message with a link to a porno site, but it was deleted by some filter? Was the spammer supposed to send it with a link but made a mistake? Did he program the spamming robot incorrectly?

A spammer is human, too.

Hello, funny person

Hello, funny person. You know who you are. Yes, i see your search engine games. No, i am not really a spam expert. No, i am not going to work for Microsoft. No, i don’t dislike Russians. You can stop spamming me now.

For future reference, please note that WordPress cuts the search engine queries after 40 characters.

here these themes which I fallen back on

I’m sorry, i know i promised not to post vegetarian spam, but this one is kinda special.

Send my way in a correct river-bedif who it likes answer want to associate, knock in icq write in email only, it is yet better to discuss in opened right here  here these themes which I fallen back on: pills fioricet news fioricet and news fioricet phentermine fioricet or fioricet fioricet buy whether there are here people which will be able to render support on this not easy business I ask to forgive me for slang, I to twist only began to teach English, by nationality to twist I Romanian, understand as in schools of my country teach this wonderful from languages :( not forget to write your answers here
Ps. I found some references which to me interesting steel generic fioricet fioricet and searched through google on demand : buy fioricet online usa cheap fioricet,? here this site with the heap of Linkov.
what is ?

Isn’t it beautiful? It’s even kinda … relevant?

And here’s another small one for dessert:

Are you aware that no credit can be just as bad as bad credit?


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