Feeds

Spammers target Twitter

Twammers will punish you for your inane burblings

Seven Steps to Software Security

After undermining the usefulness of email, turning newsgroups into a forum for promoting sex sites and filling blog comment sections with adverts for penis pill adverts and get rich quick schemes, spammers have set their sights on a new target - Twitter.

Richard Stiennon of ThreatChaos.com has published an analysis explaining how spammers are lining up to exploit the popular micro-blogging service as a medium for junk mail messages.

An application called TweetTornado takes advantage of the fact most Twitter users permit followers to join their feeds without permission. The application creates a large number of bogus Twitter IDs, each following a large number of users, before posting Tweets with links from a text file.

Abuse of Twitter using the tactic is far from common, at least for now. Twitter users can screen followers using the "protect your updates" option in the settings on their Twitter account.

"For now this is an annoyance," Stiennon writes. "Remember when email was something people would say 'what’s the big deal? Just hit the delete button?' At this point Twammers effect only a small percentage of Twitter users. If you see someone posting links to annoying commercials it is easy to 'block' the user."

Since Twitter, unlike email, is a closed system, there's more scope to stamp down on rogue accounts. Stiennon adds: "The first thing that Twitter can and should do is limit Twitter ID creation by requiring a valid email account with verification. Gmail accounts of the realname+anything@gmail.com should not be allowed."

A write-up of the nascent threat - containing screenshots of the TweetTornado application and more detail on how it works - can be found here. Users who reckon they have come across a spammer can send reports of abuse to Twitter staff via the @spam account. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.