Feeds

Spammers target Twitter

Twammers will punish you for your inane burblings

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.