After 8 months it is time for another anti-abuse post. Besides humans steem is also full of bots. There are good bots like Haikubot and Mechanicalowl(^-^) but there are also plenty of bad bots. This post will be about a specific type of naughty bot that deserves to be flagged.
Image made by me
In this post I will discuss an abuser-bot which was brought to my attention by @enforcer48. This bot is posting new submissions of the arXiv website on steem which are then upvoted using bid bots. It turned out there are a total of three bots using the same script. I will explain why I expected there were multiple bots and how I found the corresponding accounts.
A couple of weeks ago, Leonis aka @enforcer48 dropped the following account in the Steemflagrewards-discord:
As an example here is a post excerpt:
And, here is the corresponding arXiv entry:
The underlying post creation script is fairly straight forward. After having posted the bot procceeds by upvoting the post using bidbots.
Abusers are not stupid
If you are a bit experienced with coding I don't see why it would take you much more than a hour to write a script for this bot. But personally, I don't really see why you want to try to make money with this type of abuse when you are an experienced programmer. So I guess it probably was written by somebody who wrote the code in more than a couple of hours. The abuser wants to get as much STEEM as possible for their time working on the bot. So you can expect that the abuser has multiple bots active.
Finding more bots
So the key here are bidbots and arXiv. With a few lines of code you can go through the memos of bidbots to find posts containing the word arXiv. This leads to the following results (Alternatively, you can perform this search manually by going to the transfers page of bidbots.) :
As you can see from the above two new bot accounts were revealed. One account was posting papers from the arXiv condensed matter section and the other account was posting papers from the arXiv astrophysics section. Layout of the posts is exactly the same. In addition, both accounts had active bidbot activity. Hence, it seems likely that all these accounts are using the same script.
If you want to find abuse you need to think like an abuser. The main goal of abusers is to minimise efforts and maximise rewards. Therefore, if you see a type of abuse which can be easily reproduced then probably you can expect that the abuser is reproducing this type of abuse.