Feeds

Twitter hit with rogue anti-virus scam

For-profit attack

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Twitter users over the weekend were the target of a scam that tried to infect them with rogue anti-virus software and other malware, in what is one of the first times the micro-blogging site has been hit by a known for-profit attack, a security researcher said.

The problem started after a flurry of tweets directed users to a website promising "Best Video." The site appeared to offer content from YouTube, but behind the scenes, the site delivered a PDF document designed to infect those using vulnerable versions of Adobe's Reader program. Victims then received an urgent warning that their systems were infected and needed to cleaned using fraudulent security software.

"This attack is very significant," Kaspersky researcher Roel Schouwenberg writes here. "It would seem that at least one criminal group is now exploring the distribution of for-profit on Twitter. If the trends we've seen on other social platforms are any indicator for Twitter then we can only expect an increase in attacks."

Twitter representatives said Saturday they had contained the problem after temporarily suspending accounts that had been compromised. No confidential information was intercepted, they added.

The high volume of posts on Twitter that encourage readers to follow obscured links to audio, video, and other content has created a click-first-ask-questions-later culture on the micro-blogging site that's ideal for drive-by attacks. And yet, this weekend's attack is one of the few to target Twitter users with exploits that install malware.

That's not to say Twitter hasn't been targeted in the past. The vast majority of the attacks, though, have been worms that repeat a phrase or link over and over by tricking users to click on links that automatically leave a post. As more posts are generated, more and more Twitter users are bombarded with the malicious links, giving the attacks the ability to spread virally.

The scam promoted a piece of rogue anti-virus software dubbed "System Security." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.