Phishing exploit has been stopped - Scammers thwarted!

in steemit •  last year

The counter-strike was efficient - The scammer got beaten at his own game.

Early this moring, I informed the community of two phishing initiatives spreading on Steemit! You can read it here.

I quickly responded to this threat to users' accounts by creating a bot to thwart this attempt to steal keys from naive users.

The whole story step by step

It all began with a comment from @demotruk in the Witness channel around 10:20 PM (UTC):

Thanks @demotruk for being my whistle-blower!

Right after our short discussion, I started collecting and analyzing data, coding the bot and writing my explanation post between two cups of tea.

Time UTCEvent
2017-10-10 00:34:48Published my post mentionning the coming work of the warning-bot
2017-10-10 00:41:51The bot started to issue its warning payment/message to all the victims of the attack, starting from the first transaction to the more recent.
2017-10-10 00:43:24It looks like the scammer noticed my move and made his last phishing attempt. He stopped definitively (until now) to send scam payments.
2017-10-10 01:31:30@samstonehill start to retaliate against me and flag all my posts and comments.
2017-10-10 02:09:54@accounttransfers comes to help of his wicked buddy and also start to flag all my posts and comments. They will also flag @samstonehilltube post and any comment made by you, the steemit users, on my posts and on any related posts
2017-10-10 01:55:39My bot has issued 751 individual notifications. Users information campaign completed
2017-10-10 13:43:21Both @samstonehill and @accounttransfers surrenders and stop flagging

The retaliation campaign was useless because:

  • They were flagging like crazy at full power (100%) and found themselves short of amunition, with no more voting power, after a mere 215 downvotes.
  • As their reputation has already been lowered by previous @steemcleaners’ campaign, their flag has no effect on any user’s reputation

We won this battle. Even if today score is “Scammers 0 - White hat 1”, I guess it's not the last confrontation.

Anyway, we demonstrated that this community is not without defense and that some users wants and do care of each others.


A bit of paranoia is the basis of security.
There are a few simple rules to follow in order to avoid having your account hacked:

Rule 1: NEVER, I repeat, NEVER use or give your owner key!

Write this on a paper, stick it on the wall on top of your bed and read it loudly every night before falling asleep. If your wife/husband think you are crazy, it is because she/he has not yet an account on Steemit!

You should only use your owner key to:

  • recover your account
  • change the other keys
  • give a present to your children a few minutes before dying.

Rule 2: Use your posting key to login, post and vote on trusted websites like or

Rule 3: Use your active key for special operation like money transfer or account update on trusted websites like

Rule 4: Anywhere else, if you are requested to provide any of the above key: RUN AWAY!!!

4 simple rules. It's not much to remember. Follow them scrupulously, and you will only have to laugh at unsuccessful attempts from scammers.
Spread the words, resteem this post to your friends, and you will make the platform safer.

Thank you!

A last word ...

Thank you all for the support you provided to my previous post. I didn’t slept much last night but I woke up with a big banana smile when reading all the supportive comments.

Thank you for those who voted my witness. I feel really encouraged to continue my work and remain committed to making Steemit such an amazing platform.

Thanks for reading!


@lovelygirl is also spamming with scam micro-payments

The Warning-Bot will now monitor this account.

A BIG thank you to @eturnerx, @kaylinart,, @tarekadam for their donation to support the work of my Warning-Bot. You are amazing!

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Support me and my work as a witness by voting for me here!

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Thank you @arcange! Glad to have you as a witness, you will always have my vote!

Thanks for doing what you did to help. I was also aware of this and had seen the real samstonehill who has made a new account and sucks that he got roped into giving up his master pass.

Steemit is amazing overall and the fact that there are different levels of passwords is great. Also, the bad actors will be run out by the community!

Great work, and thanks, @arcange! Upvoted, resteemed and am now following you! I will also vote for you as a witness! Thank you so much for being a watcher and fighter to protect this wonderful platform.


Thank you so much for your support. Really appreciated =)

Thank you for the bot. It is likely that this loveylgirl that started posting on sam's account is connected to or actually is a known international scammer, norman king. I understand the whois queries on the past well known scams come back as a ned scott, but the lovelygirl connection is what likely links it back to norman king whose been known to use fake ids. Norman king (him or his associates) left on a transfer wall an email address he had been using for years, which still gets used to this day.

The below is a post by Omar hesham reporting one scammer-whom my research found it to be norman king-which I thus commented on if you want to learn more about him and his history.


Thanks for the link. Read it and will investigate the mentioned accounts when less busy.

Way to be Awesome! That scam was taking too much of all of our attention and unfortunate peoples money!


Extremely useful @arcange. Thank you very much for the text.

Like the Gatekeeper of Asgard, it is great to have people like you looking out for the common good of steemit. On behalf of all steemians, many thanks.

tip! hide

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You published 4 posts in one day

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Thanks for the heads up!
resteeming it

Made me laugh 4 times! Nice job on the bot! Up-Voted!

Thanks for this @arcange, we should also include other whales as well to stop such activities by these accounts. We know they will never stop doing these shitty things!

Thanks for the good work!

give a present to your children a few minutes before dying.



Thank you. Don't misinterpret me, it does not means you have to die to transfer your owner key!

I got WARNING message from you abut "lovelygirl"SCAM after under 2min. you do a really good job! much appreciating!

Hi @arcange thank you for doing this it makes me proud to be part of this community.

Good work! You're right about how a little bit of paranoia can be good for a user. About a week ago, I was met with a prompt from Steemit, to update and generate me a new key. I triple checked the url from inside my browser, then checked on my phone just to make sure it was a legitimate request.

After plugging it in and being given new keys, I updated them across all my backups, before saving it to my saved passwords with 2 factor authentication.

Steemit did ask for my password once but that was only to change everything. I was also shown the "never give out your password" screen as well. Is this something that happens periodically?

User @lovelygirl is definitely some voting scam, got messaged from it the past two days in a row. Again, thank you for your efforts, along with @steemcleaners, and all other spam/scam fighting initiatives. This shows me that the people who can stop scammers will, giving me all the more faith in the Steemit platform.

Thank you for the useful post.
I have voted for you as a witness.

why isn't this on the welcome page, i am still confuse which one is master key

but i found the solution:

Thank you very much @arcange. I was reading your earlier post last night thinking how terrible it would have been without you and other vigilante and whistle blowers. If I hadn't found your post, I would never could imagine that some people can be so 'evil'.

We are all very grateful to your hard work and protection!
Have to resteem for my friends too!

Stay strong, healthy and happy.

The whole community owes you a debt of gratitude. Also, I find the phishing attempts on my phone and computer these days to be so clever that I feel that Steemit would be a great place for people to collect screenshots and other information/stories (via looking at page source code, for example) that would help to massively raise the level of public education towards an aggressive response to those phishing attempts.

A new site running off the block chain might be a good place to collect all this evidence (screen shots and page source code, etc.) and keep it on display for everyone to learn.

Can you help me on the following two points?

Even though I have not up-voted anyone for several days, the slider bar that appears when try to up-vote shows my “influence” at 26%, even though I have a few hundred dollars locked away in Steam Power coins. Can you give me a URL where I can go to learn how to distribute my up-votes so that I keep control over the rate at which that slider bar approaches 0%?

Second, in what language are the Steemit bots being coded, and where can I go (URLs) to learn the syntax rules and see some examples of bots code? I am an experienced programmer.

Thanks in advance.


Can you help me on the following two points?

Honestly, I'm already working on too many projects and don't have free time for a new one.

in what language are the Steemit bots being coded

Depends on you own skills. There are many libraries for different languages.


Hello, and thanks for your prompt response. Happily, I found several relevant and helpful webpages. In the process of reviewing text on some of them, I discovered that I need to learn Python.
This will be a piece of cake for me, since I already do a lot of work in R. I know they are quite different but the literature suggests that many scientists (I am one) are jumping easily between R and Python. Also, in glancing at a few pieces of Python code just now, it brought BASIC back to mind. So, I think that by some time next week I will have mastered Python enough to start working on a Steem bot. Good luck with your projects!

This is great news! I was just reading about all of this from your post "SCAM ALERT and WHITE HAT COUNTER-STRIKE" and was getting ready to resteem that one. I think you've done a wonderful thing by help thwarting them at their own game! I've up voted for such a wonderful deed! I've followed you as well as I need to have good people to follow and keep up with. Hopefully you could find some of my content interesting. :)

Thank you for being there.
Upvoted you. Hope my meager vote helps in some way to juice you up a bit for the next round of villains.
You've had my vote for witness already for a few weeks. I don't intend to change that.

Commendable job with tremendous alacrity! Well done!
You just earned my witness vote. Keep it up!

Thank you @arcange for this! You've gained my vote for your witness!

Awesome thank you for this service. I wonder how many accounts you saved by sending out those messages.

You are the a great Steemian!
You should get a job as a security officer on
Keep it up

Thanks for the great work @arcange.
I like the way you stated the rules especially this one below.

Rule 1: NEVER, I repeat, NEVER use or give your owner key!
Write this on a paper, stick it on the wall on top of your bed and read it loudly every night before falling asleep. If you wife/husband think you are crazy, it is because she/he has not yet an account on Steemit!

The last part is hilarious and true,they will not understand if they do not understand the potential of Steemit.

You deserve to be a witness for this great work.
I just voted you as witness.


If your wife/husband think you are crazy ...

Shame on me! I forgot to mention girlfriend/boyfriend, dog and mom :(

Thanks for your witness vote =)

Way to spot the attack and do something about it.

I received this micropayment spam a few days ago and it smelled like a scam the second I read it, but many new users could fall into this trap. Thanks for addressing it.

Upvoted and resteemed and if I see any other scams popping up I'll inform you immediately next time. We have to look out for each other on Steemit. Good job.

Great job
There were many users hop in steemit to scam others peoples hard earned steem!
My support from the redfish rank!

Great work @arcange! Whereas I am sure this won't be the last attempt like this we see, it's good to know we have some defensive tools to shut such things down.

Thank you for the valuable work you are doing and for the apt advice. I particularly like the part:

You should only use your owner key to:
recover your account
change the other keys;
give a present to your children a few minutes before dying.

Thanks for putting yourself on the line to keep Steemit safe!



Nice work! I love the responsibility taken by you guys. People work so hard to build up their accounts just to have some low-life's trying to steal from them. Thank you guys <3

Here I found another malicious page