CATS: Characterizing Automation of Twitter Spammers Conference Paper uri icon


  • Twitter, with its rising popularity as a micro-blogging website, has inevitably attracted the attention of spammers. Spammers use myriad of techniques to evade security mechanisms and post spam messages, which are either unwelcome advertisements for the victim or lure victims in to clicking malicious URLs embedded in spam tweets. In this paper, we propose several novel features capable of distinguishing spam accounts from legitimate accounts. The features analyze the behavioral and content entropy, bait-techniques, and profile vectors characterizing spammers, which are then fed into supervised learning algorithms to generate models for our tool, CATS. Using our system on two real-world Twitter data sets, we observe a 96% detection rate with about 0.8% false positive rate beating state of the art detection approach. Our analysis reveals detection of more than 90% of spammers with less than five tweets and about half of the spammers detected with only a single tweet. Our feature computation has low latency and resource requirement making fast detection feasible. Additionally, we cluster the unknown spammers to identify and understand the prevalent spam campaigns on Twitter. 2013 IEEE.

name of conference

  • 2013 Fifth International Conference on Communication Systems and Networks (COMSNETS)

published proceedings

  • 2013 Fifth International Conference on Communication Systems and Networks (COMSNETS)

author list (cited authors)

  • Amleshwaram, A. A., Reddy, N., Yadav, S., Gu, G., & Yang, C.

citation count

  • 71

complete list of authors

  • Amleshwaram, Amit A||Reddy, Narasimha||Yadav, Sandeep||Gu, Guofei||Yang, Chao

publication date

  • January 2013