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Researchers have released a tool that lets anyone track the whereabouts of Twitter and Instagram users who allow geotagging of their posts. They want social media users to be aware that geotagging exists and what kind of information it provides.

Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have offered users the ability to tag their locations with each new post for a while now–and one group of researchers has created a tool that will allow people to use that information to their advantage by stalking the shit out of friends and arch nemeses alike.

Researchers have a devised a method for identifying fake Twitter accounts that proved highly accurate across 27 popular black-market merchants. With Twitter’s cooperation, they spotted and deleted millions of accounts, using only data generated during the account-registration process.

"Researchers Post as Scammers to Curb Spam on Twitter"
August 19, 2013 | Nishtha Kanal, Tech2

Any regular user of Twitter will testify against how annoying spam and spammy accounts on the micro-blogging website can get. However, there are a bunch of people who’re planning to be your knights in shining armour and find a way to curb this spam attack on Twitter. You know how they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do, right? These people are doing just the same – being a part of the spam to stop the spam.

"Buying 120,000 Twitter Accounts Reveals New Way to Block Spam"
August 19, 2013 | Tom Simonite, MIT Technology Review

A research project in which academics bought over 120,000 fraudulent Twitter accounts has shown how easily spammers evade the company’s controls—and may have yielded a new way of beating social-network spam. Part research exercise and part sting operation, the project generated data that is being used to train software to automatically block spammers from creating accounts.

Spam is a problem, and any Twitter user knows well that the social network has its fair share of it. A team of researchers is working to fight back, however. In a paper released this week, they detailed how they've been working with Twitter to take a close look at how fraudulent accounts are made and how they can be stopped — and they've already had promising results.

"The Switchboard: Five Tech Policy Stories You Should Read Today:
August 15, 2013 | Brian Fung, Washington Post

Why a team of security analysts spent $5,000 buying fake Twitter accounts: Brian Krebs reports that to defeat online spammers, researchers from George Mason University and UC-Berkeley bought more than 120,000 fraudulent Twitter accounts from the black market — just to see how they worked.

Comp sci boffins spent a year buying up more than 100,000 fake Twitter accounts in a bid to help the teeny-tiny text transmitter beef up its spam defences. They also used their research to build a retroactive classifier that sniffed out the fakers so the Big Blue Bird itself could snuff them out.

"Twitter Eyes Scam-Busting Signatures"
August 15, 2013 | Darren Pauli, SC Magazine

Twitter is examining a real-time protection system that in research crushed 90 percent of scammer accounts as they were created. The system was developed by security researchers who spent 10 months studying the underground Twitter scam market.

"Researchers Put a Dent in the Twitter Underground"
August 15, 2013 | Michael Mimoso, Threatpost

Fraudulent Twitter accounts are a booming business, accounting for significant underground money for spammers, fake antivirus scams, drive-by downloads and phishing schemes. But research presented at USENIX yesterday proposes a means for driving up the cost for attackers to get these campaigns off the ground.

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