Feeds

Twitter adds filter to cut phishing lines

Every twt.tl bit helps

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Twitter has tightened up security procedures in order to curtail phishing attacks against users of the micro-blogging service, which have become rampant over recent weeks.

Bogus (normally direct) messages have invited users to log into counterfeit Twitter sites, and hand over login credentials in the process. Compromised accounts have subsequently been harnessed to send spamvertise penis pill sites and the like, much to the embarrassment of victims of the ruse, including cabinet minister Ed Miliband, online bank First Direct and many other less prominent marks.

Twitter is hoping to curtail such attacks by routing direct messages submitted to Twitter via new URL service twt.tl, which will maintain a blacklist of URLs associated with phishing attacks, as explained in a blog posting on Tuesday.

We’re launching a new service to protect users that strikes a major blow against phishing and other deceitful attacks. By routing all links submitted to Twitter through this new service, we can detect, intercept, and prevent the spread of bad links across all of Twitter. Even if a bad link is already sent out in an email notification and somebody clicks on it, we'll be able keep that user safe.

Since these attacks occur primarily on Direct Messages and email notifications about Direct Messages, this is where we have focused our initial efforts. For the most part, you will not notice this feature because it works behind the scenes but you may notice links shortened to twt.tl in Direct Messages and email notifications.

Social networking spam and malware attacks rose 70 per cent last year, according to net security firm Sophos. Facebook and Twitter, in particular, have become prime targets for Web 2.0 spammers. A video by Sophos illustrates the mechanics of recent Twitter phishing attacks.

Such attacks are serious not just because of the nuisance and potential embarrassment they cause on Twitter but because many users reuse their Twitter login credentials on more sensitive webmail and online banking accounts, which are therefore left open to attack if micro-blogging passwords become compromised. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.