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That Twitter Account Claiming the Google Docs Attack Was 'Research' Is Dodgy as Hell

Someone claimed the wave of malicious Google links was just a research project gone wrong.

by Joseph Cox
May 4 2017, 11:16am

Image: 16:9clue/Flickr

On Wednesday, someone started a flood of phishing emails that spread through malicious Google links. The clever thing about the scam was that it actually used a legitimate Google page, but tricked victims into granting a dodgy app—conveniently named Google Docs—access to their emails.

Shortly after that news, journalists and researchers suggested the app was created by a Eugene Pupov, or at least someone who was using a Gmail address with that name. A Twitter account created on May 3, ostensibly belonging to Pupov, claimed the spam was all just part of a university research project that went wrong.

But, perhaps unsurprisingly, those claims and the Twitter account don't hold much weight at the moment.

First of all, Coventry University, apparently the institution Pupov attended, told Motherboard in an email that there is no current or former student at the university by the name Eugene Pupov.

Secondly, on Thursday the Pupov Twitter account claimed that the Gmail address was still up and running. But the day before, messages sent to the address were met with an "address not found" reply, and the same goes for today.

Thirdly, the email address registered to the Pupov Twitter account doesn't appear to relate to that name at all. Instead, it is something along the lines of "ch*****@y****.***," according to Twitter's password reset screen.

Finally, the account briefly had a profile picture of a blonde man, with black glasses, and a red shirt. According to a reverse image search, that's a picture of a researcher at the Institute of Molecular Genetics, who happens to have the surname Pupov. (This second Pupov did not respond to a request for comment). The account owner has since switched the profile picture to just a plain white block.

The person behind the Pupov Twitter account did not immediately respond to a request for comment either.

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