The social media research team, Graphika, said he spotted one Twitter botnet with about 3.000 bots που promoted politically spam messages in favor of China, repeating official messages from promotional accounts state propaganda.
Graphika said it was able to locate the botnet due to some similarities presented by the vast majority of bots accounts. Most of them used excerpts from the book Dracula by Bram Stoker for their profile description for the first two tweets.
Graphika said the Dracula botnet, as it called this cluster of fake accounts, bore many similarities to previous Twitter botnets that were part of it. Spamouflage A code name given by company at social media Chinese government influence campaigns. These campaigns were studied by Graphika September 2019In April 2020 and August 2020.
However, unlike previous campaigns that promoted propaganda in her favor China, the company discovered this new Twitter botnet early. Apparently the botnet had managed to collect only 3.000 accounts, with the oldest dating just one month before, in July 2020.
Graphika said the botnet accounts alone were not dangerous, as they appeared to be automated to quote excerpts from Dracula and respond to tweets from others. However, the company said that accounts were used to boost tweets and create topics that could be used to promote pro-China propaganda (usually depicting a distorted view of reality, favorable to Beijing's international affairs).
The Twitter Dracula botnet is out of operation from 20 August, according to Ben Nimmo, a Graphika researcher.
In a post, Nimmo said that Twitter intervened and suspended the vast majority of Dracula botnet Twitter accounts, marking those not removed as "restricted" to prevent new content from being published.