AI System Exposes Cryptocurrency Giveaway Scams on X Social Network

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In a groundbreaking study, researchers from San Diego State University have harnessed the power of artificial intelligence to unveil one of the latest cyber threats: cryptocurrency giveaway scams on the X social network (formerly known as Twitter).

Unveiling GiveawayScamHunter

Dubbed GiveawayScamHunter, this innovative AI system meticulously scoured the vast digital landscape of X. Over a year, from June 2022 to June 2023, the tool spotlighted a staggering 95,111 scam lists. These deceptive lists originated from 87,617 distinct accounts on X.

The system autonomously extracted pivotal data—specific website and wallet addresses linked to these scams. The outcome was significant. Researchers amassed 327 scam-tied internet domains and 121 previously unidentified scam-centric cryptocurrency wallet addresses.

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But how did these scams increase on such a grand scale? The researchers pinpointed an unsuspecting culprit: Twitter Lists. Owing to its open nature, this feature became a haven for cyber malefactors, offering them an easy avenue to orchestrate their nefarious activities.

Training AI to Sniff Out Giveaway Scams

The team armed a natural language processing tool with data from earlier detected giveaway scams to segregate the genuine from the fraudulent. This method proved invaluable, helping them identify almost 100,000 suspicious lists. Consequently, this facilitated the accumulation of critical data on many hitherto uncharted scam-driven websites and wallets.

The harvested data granted the researchers a privileged peek into the heart of these scams. They discerned the strategies scammers employed, their targeting patterns, and even the potential number of unsuspecting victims over the study’s timeframe. As highlighted in their research paper:

“By monitoring scam cryptocurrency transactions, it’s revealed that 365 individuals fell prey to these scams, leading to a financial setback of an estimated 872K USD.”

A Call for Collaborative Action

After collating their findings, the researchers took swift action. They reported the linked accounts, domains, and wallet addresses to X and the larger cryptocurrency/blockchain fraternity.

Yet, a worrying statistic emerges from their paper. As of its Aug. 10 release, 43.9% of these reported accounts are still operational. However, it’s essential to note that many of these might be dormant spam accounts.

As the digital age evolves, cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated. San Diego State University’s pioneering study underscores the dire need for continual vigilance. Unfortunately, cryptocurrency giveaway scams will not disappear for a while to come. 

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