Feeds

Spammers target Twitter

Twammers will punish you for your inane burblings

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.