Mirroring behavior in dating dating websites for professionals only

Last month Krebs On Security published research into a large distributed network of apparently compromised systems being used to relay huge blasts of junk email promoting “online dating” programs — affiliate-driven schemes traditionally overrun with automated accounts posing as women.

New research suggests that another bot-promoting botnet of more than 80,000 automated female Twitter accounts has been pimping the same dating scheme and prompting millions of clicks from Twitter users in the process.

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Requests from visitors who look like real users responding to tweets are redirected to the porn spam sites.

Because the links promoted by those spammy Twitter accounts all abused short link services from Twitter and Google, the researchers were able to see that this entire botnet has generated more than 30 million unique clicks from February to June 2017.

“The final redirect sites encourage the user to sign up for subscription pornography, webcam sites, or fake dating,” Zero FOX wrote in a report being issued this week.

“These types of sites, although legal, are known to be scams.” Perhaps the most well-known example of the subscription-based dating/cheating service that turned out to be mostly phony was Ashley Madison.

[SIDE NOTE: Anyone seeking more context about what’s being promoted here can check out the Web site datinggold[dot]com [Caution: Not-Safe-for-Work], which suggests it’s an affiliate program that rewards marketers who drive new signups to its array of “online dating” offerings — mostly “cheating,” “hookup” and “affair-themed” sites like “Adsfor Sex,” “Affair Hookups,” and “Local Cheaters.” Note that this program is only interested in male signups.] Allen said the Twitter botnet relies heavily on accounts that have been “aged” for a period of time as another method to evade anti-spam techniques used by Twitter, which may treat tweets from new accounts with more prejudice than those from established accounts.

Zero FOX said about 20 percent of the Twitter accounts identified as part of the botnet were aged at least one year before sending their first tweet, and that the botnet overall demonstrates that these affiliate programs have remained lucrative by evolving to harness social media.This was the same company that was found to be the beneficiary of spam from the porn botnet I’d written about in June. “We’ve been tracking this thing since February 2017, and we concluded that the social botnet controllers are probably not part of Deniro Marketing, but most likely are affiliates,” Allen said.Zero FOX found more than 86,262 Twitter accounts were responsible for more than 8.6 million posts on Twitter promoting porn-based sites, many of them promoting domains in a swath of Internet address space owned by Deniro Marketing (ASN19884).One fragment, which extends from the left calf to the pelvis, appears to be part of a female statue; Adonis, apparently, had a girlfriend.In fact, in an article soon to be published in the journal Germania, Staeuble speculates on how the pieces could fit together.But researchers can't agree on what the 7,000-year-old sculptures mean.

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