Feeds

Twitter Trends exploited to promote scareware

Malign micro-blogging madness

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
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
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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 Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?