Sunday, July 12, 2009

Iranian Opposition Under Cyberattack on Twitter

See Latest Updates Below Article

Persons unknown disrupted the #iranelection tag used by Iranian opposition activists on Twitter for almost all of Saturday 11th July. Legitimate messages coordinating political opposition to the Iranian government were drowned out by massive volume of tweet spam for a product called Turbo Cash Generator, and also for -a free domain registration service.

Twitter did not seem to respond to requests block the spam content -which is rendered the #iranelection tag unusable, especially to less experienced users. That looks like an abrogation of their corporate responsibility to protect an online system vital for free speech and political organization.

The sheer volume of tweet spam (up to 70% of tweets -see image) was counterproductive from an e-marketing point of view, so it's possible that Turbo Cash Generator was not the actual entity behind this cyberattack. Another entity may have used their product as cover for the attack.

A new anonymity software program created by Austin Heap, called Haystack is just set to launch. But that product will be undermined if the most popular Iranian opposition tag on Twitter is destroyed by cyberattack.

A Twitter account at: has been set up to help educate users on how to filter out the spam. An online activist response is being coordinated in a topic thread at the Anonymous Iran forum.

UPDATE: 12:00pm EST Sunday

After an overnight lull, the "Killer Software" spam is back Sunday. But the Twitter short links it is using, are no longer valid on's link translation system. So there is no benefit in traffic to the originator. Just disruption of the #iranelection tag on Twitter.

The originator of the spam is still unidentified.

In response to a media enquiry by me, provideing details of the affiliate code being used in the spam, said it would have the spam stopped, but did not admit if the affiliate code was genuine, or if the company itself was responsible for the spam. Nevertheless the spam continues today.

UPDATE: 2:00am EST Monday

Thanks to help from Tweeters and AnonymousIran members, though spam continues on Twitter, the spam level in the #iranelection tag is now reduced to a trickle. A number of spammers have been contacted directly by #iranelection's AntiSpam team and have backed off. However, they or other spammers may show up again. We will continue an aggressive response to any spamming of #iranelection. Latest here.

1 comment:

  1. The problems have also resulted in suspended accounts. My experience is that I do not know (nor have been told, what the particular reason/s is/are. I have only been on twitter for iranelection.