MikeFarb Profile picture
Jun 3, 2018 31 tweets 15 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter

A Key State

Fake State Twitter Accounts

Fake County Twitter Accounts

Fake US Twitter Accounts

Tons of Followers

Alt Right Content

A huge problem

We need your help

On Twitter, as on other social media, fakery is rampant. It leaves the door wide open for accounts to impersonate people and organizations, or to claim false credentials.
For those who know how, Twitter accounts can be controlled with scripts. Accounts can be created, re-named, and re-purposed this way. Hijacked accounts are sanitized by deleting old tweets and changing their handles, screen-names and imagery.
These accounts are valuable on the black market because they may appear to be well established. Then those accounts can be programmed to tweet automatically - for instance they might track a certain set of users and tweet pre-programmed responses to them.
Often these accounts are sometimes automated - programmed to retweet on a schedule from a list of high-profile accounts, for instance. This can give the account the appearance of being very active and engaged with little human effort.
Automated accounts are called "bots". An example is the ReffyBot network we discovered and vanquished a few weeks ago. unhackthevote.com/our-research/t…
Sometimes these accounts are partially automated and partially human controlled. This type of account - a bot/human hybid - is know as a cyborg. A cyborg account can appear quite legitimate and active, with a high number of retweets mixed in with real human interaction.
has alerted us to a particularly disruptive network of cyborgs - high follower Twitter accounts that appear to be the official Twitter accounts for counties, states, and even the US itself.
Although a few of these accounts now have disclaimers in their Twitter descriptions, this is a new development. As recently as February, or later,  these accounts were doing their best to look official. They have very high follower counts, both apparent bots and humans.
Few people notice when an account changes its description. It's likely that many of the followers of these accounts believe they are official.
These accounts tweet decidedly right-wing content. For those that are unaware, this could create the illusion that North Carolina is far more right-leaning than it actually is.
Here is a tweet that shows the account @_North_Carolina both impersonating the state of North Carolina and tweeting right-wing content.
Our collaborator @geoffgolberg had this very interesting exchange with the human behind these accounts, here.
The official Greensboro account isn't verified, so it is difficult for the casual observer to know which account is real. The official account has requested that Twitter remove the imposter account, to no avail.
Meanwhile, the fake account has more than five times the follower count as that of the real account.
Not only that, but the fake account shows up higher in the search results for "Greensboro" on Twitter. Also note, that the account's description is cut off in these results, so the "Not the Government" disclaimer is not visible, but the link to the fake North Carolina account is.
Is this why the fake Greensboro account has more than five times the number of followers as the real account?
These followers include some very interesting official accounts, including @WarriorCare (official DoD account), @Interior (official Dept. of Interior account), and @LBJLibrary. Do they know they are following a right-wing imposter site?
Even more interesting is Republican Senator Thom Tillis - @SenThomTillis. He also follows both of these accounts, and in fact began following them very early on. Well before he began following the official accounts. Mistake?
In addition Senator Richard Burr follows these accounts. Does he know they are fake?
To further complicate social media messaging for North Carolina, the outgoing GOP governor Pat McCrory refused to hand over the official state social media accounts to the current Democratic governer Roy Cooper. wral.com/mccrory-didn-t…
This sort of impersonation could have very real political impact.

What if an official-looking account such as this one chose to endorse a political candidate?

What if they published a false or damaging story about a Democratic candidate close to the midterms?
What if they put up a fake announcement that county polling places are closing early? Or Democratic Polling stations were closed?

What if they said the Mail in Ballots were not correct and new ones would be mailed out knowing that this would not happen?
We always believe that when such time, effort and money is put into a project like this that there is an endgame, a reason. In this case we can’t afford to find out what it is. It isn’t a good one.
Twitter has been negligent at the expense of honest discourse and our democratic process, in not suspending these accounts. Despite repeated complaints.
Thats where all of us come in. We did it with Refy Botnet and we need to do it now. Please take the time and help clean this platform from this type of dangerous content.
We are putting a lot of resources behind trying to keep our Social Media platforms clean. We have a lot of findings that we will be posting. Just as all of you helped us get Refy Bot removed we ask for your help again.We can’t afford these sites to be live through the midterms.
Please Follow and Retweet. We have a lot of work to do and we need your help.

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More from @mikefarb1

Aug 21, 2018

So Russia has reportedly moved on from Hacking our Election Infrastructure. Moving on to other things. Don’t believe it. They are everywhere in our Election System. They know the importance of the Midterms.

And Now This!

Parts of an operation linked to Russian military intelligence targeting the US Senate and conservative think tanks were thwarted last week. The domains were associated with the Russian government and known as Strontium, or alternatively Fancy Bear or APT28
"Hackers could have used the domains to send emails to Senate staffers or people working for the Hudson Institute or the International Republican Institute in an attempt to trick them into handing over information, like their passwords."
Read 5 tweets
Aug 19, 2018
Georgia to close 75% of Black Counties Precincts!! Precincts that were all open during the Primaries. They know they have a problem. Even with the Election machines that give suspect results they know they need more help.


If this stands we need to start a major effort to provide transportation in this county. We will need drivers, volunteers and people to help distribute notices and spread the word.
This is also what we should be doing in any heavily Gerrymandered area where there is a difficulty with people traveling the long distance to their polling places.
Read 4 tweets
Jul 18, 2018

More than 250 Trump Organization Subdomains are in Communication with Computers in Russia!!

The Trump Organization, like most large organizations, has a lot of domains registered to it. Let's take a look.
Many of these domains have subdomains - like reservations.trumphotels.com. This is a normal practice. But we found something HIGHLY unusual.
Read 19 tweets
Jul 17, 2018
Remote Access Software used by ES&S Voting. They finally tell the truth. At least some of it. Thank you to @KimZetter for pursuing her initial story from February. I am afraid we are missing the bigger point here.

States have given over their Election Systems to a myriad of Private Companies. The States in many cases have absolutely no idea what is happening with their Elections.
Ask yourself why did the States notified over a year after the 2016 Election not know that they were being targeted by Russia? How is that possible? What does that mean for the possibility of having a free and fair Election?
Read 13 tweets
Jul 15, 2018

Michigan, ES&S and the Voting Machines that couldn’t count!!

Why are States Buying and Using Machines that don’t pass testing?

It is infuriating!!

All along there have been problems with electronic voting. Again and again election officials and observers have spoken up, only to be ignored.
In 2008 an election official in Oakland County Michigan noticed something alarming.with ES&S optical scan machines. Here is the story.
Read 20 tweets
Jul 14, 2018
Maryland Voter Registration System runs on Russian Owned Software! The biggest problem here is that they never knew it. How is that possible? The States have no idea who is behind the companies they give the Elections over to.


We are going to be dropping a ton of research on exactly this. Why do States willfully do this. Would a state actually know if something went bad ? Let's talk more about Spearphishing.
Every company that touches a States Voting system introduces a hundred more employees that can get hacked. Companies rely on these contracts. They aren't going to disclose what happened. Just look at VR Systems.
Read 5 tweets

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