There are a lot of services around that promise Twitter followers. Security researchers from Trend Micro have investigated an interesting one.
The service in question is being advertised on Twitter with the aid of messages that read “GET MORE FOLLOWERS,” accompanied by popular hashtags and the names of celebrities.
When users click on the URLs that apparently point to Google, they’re taken to the site that offers Twitter followers. Experts note that Google is simply used as a redirector to the scammers’ website.
Once on the website, users have two options to get followers. One of them is free, but it generates fewer followers and a Twitter app called LAAY PAAY must be authorized. The free version also includes “promotional status updates,” in other words, spam.
The paid version costs close to €5 ($6.8), but it allegedly generates new followers every minute, and it’s ad-free.
The trick is that the followers brought by the service are actually other people who have signed up. Basically, all customers simply end up following each other.
Once permission is granted to the service, spam tweets are sent out from users’ accounts, even from the ones of those who signed up for premium membership.
And there’s another trick that helps the scammers make money. Every time the site is visited, various advertisements are loaded, generating a profit for the owners.
A total of 35 domains hosted in the US have been spotted by researchers. In fact, close to 70% of the site’s visitors are from the US. The rest are from Turkey, New Zealand, the UK, the Philippines and other countries.
Trend Micro says that Twitter has shut down some of the accounts used to advertise the followers service. However, internauts are warned to avoid such services.