New Twitter extension detects dodgy ICOs

Posted: 5 February 2018 8:57 am News
No-one wants to be fleeced by a dodgy ICO. Picture: Shutterstock

No-one wants to be fleeced by a questionable ICO. Picture: Shutterstock

EtherSecurityLookup identifies fake profiles spruiking iffy crypto deals.

The world of cryptocurrencies is filled with both legitimate people trying to make successful trades on the market and with charlatans who create dodgy initial coin offerings (ICOs) with the intent of fleecing unsuspecting victims of their money.

Developer Harry Denly has created a Twitter extension that identified tweets that have been sent by potentially fake accounts. This will help cryptocurrency traders filter out the potential fraudsters.

Denley has used JavaScript to create "EtherSecurityLookup". It looks up accounts that pretend to be from legitimate parties but are really fake accounts. He developed the tool in response to complaints by Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin, who was seeing people impersonate him online in order to scam money from unsuspecting traders.

By pretending to be important players in the cryptocurrency business, people can drive up the price of currencies, create fake ICOs, simply dupe people to send them money for them to "invest" in non-existent schemes or convince them to sell their coins at lower prices.

EtherSecurityLook up is being published through GitHub, a code-sharing repository used by software developers. Denely also developed another tool, EtherAddressLookup, that helps people detect fake domains used by fake Ethereum traders and scammers.

As the number of ICOs rises and more people are drawn into cryptocurrency trading, being able to detect fake ICOs and other offers is becoming increasingly important and challenging. ICO review sites can help but we know they aren't perfect following the recent Benefit scam which resulted in traders losing US$3 million.

The perpetrators of the fake Benefit ICO are said to have invested up to half a million dollars in creating their scam, suggesting the security and cryptocurrency industries will need to work together and step up efforts to detect potential fraud and protect unsuspecting people. Denely's tools are some of the first in that space but we can expect more to come.

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Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

Picture: Shutterstock

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