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Energi discovers a massive social Media sockpuppet operation with over 1 million fake accounts

By RafaƂ - 2019-12-02

The Energi team has seen a growing interest with its own organized earndrop which offered the opportunity to thousands of users to earn some NRG coins. But, to accompany that important craze, over 10,000 fake submissions were identified coming from one group, a multinational systematized sockpuppet organization. The central core of malicious actors (ring leaders) in this group are mostly located in Vietnam and Eastern Europe. The actual sockpuppet network is gigantic in size, containing over one million social media profiles. Thus, only about 1% of the identified network was used to sign up for the Energi Earndrop. This was probably done in an effort to stay under the radar. Thanks to the diligent efforts to ensure a clean distribution of coins to legitimate community members, Defense was able to identity this organization among others and thwart their nefarious attempt at defrauding the Earndrop.

visual representation of the entire network operation
visual representation of the entire network operation, source: medium.com/energi

The team suspects that the network is used similarly to a botnet except to promote products and collect airdrops. Anecdotal reports indicate that a Facebook crypto airdrop group has offered to help users get to a higher number of friends quickly to meet a threshold for certain airdrops. The user is then flooded with sockpuppet friend requests and is able to gain the necessary number of friends. Unfortunately, this user is then now involved in this nefarious sockpuppet network and helps provide it legitimacy and avoid detection due to the authentic nature of their account. It is therefore important to share the word about these operations to warn users against adding unknown users to their friends for the sole purpose of defrauding a project in this manner, as they are unwittingly associating themselves with and aiding criminals.