Feeds

Twitter Trends exploited to promote scareware

Malign micro-blogging madness

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Hackers are manipulating a hot topics feature of Twitter to promote malware-infected websites. The gaming of the Twitter Trends feature recalls the manipulation of Google search results using black-hat search engine optimisation techniques.

In the case of the Twitter attack, cyber-criminals created hundreds of accounts and posted multiple messages under the topic "PhishTube Broadcast", a reference to the US rock band Phish, but containing links to a spoof pornographic Web page. The topic appeared in the Trending Topic list, achieving greater visibility and therefore more user traffic to comments made under that category.

Users intrigued enough to visit the supposed websites promoted through the Twitter social-engineering ruse risk exposure to the PrivacyCenter fake antivirus (scareware) package. The software runs a spoof scan of system before falsely informing users that their computers are infected with malware, whether they are or not, in order to induce frightened users into buying software of little or not utility.

Attacks of this nature promoting a scareware package called System Security surfaced last week. The latest run of attacks demonstrates a continuation of the same methods, and its adaptation to make the ruse seem more plausible and likely to attract notice.

"We have recently been warning of an increase in BlackHat SEO attacks (malicious techniques to improve search engine rankings), particularly those aimed at selling fake antivirus products," said Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs. "In this case, instead of a search engine, the Twitter ranking mechanism is the target of the attack, forcing topics to appear in the list of the most popular. Anyone interested in this topic will most likely end up on one of the thousands of malicious comments posted, although we have also seen a few legitimate comments".

A write-up of the attacks - complete with screen-shots - by Panda Security can be found here.

The targeting of Twitter is similar to recent attacks on other Web 2.0 websites, such as Digg.com and YouTube. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.