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A nasty new phishing campaign that aims to harvest Twitter login credentials is doing the rounds.

The scam typically appears in the shape of direct messages to prospective marks from one of their contacts. Attackers are using messages such as "This person is threatening to expose something bad about you" with a link.

The link takes prospective victims (who may be concerned they are about to be slandered or worse) to a dodgy site (twitller.com), which poses as a login to Twitter. Victims are encouraged to hand over their login credentials which are then used to take over compromised accounts and send more intimidating messages.

"This is a nasty trick especially when the sender is someone you know and trust. If you receive a suspicious DM or email from a person you know and trust, just warn him/her – the account is most likely hijacked and controlled by the attackers," security blogger Janne Ahlberg warns.

Ahlberg reckons the number of accounts hit might number in their thousands. "The recent diet spam campaign utilised hacked accounts, hacked websites etc [and] there have been other phishing sites - some shut down, some most likely not."

Any typo-squatting site associated with the attack is likely to get squashed but this won't stop the ruse re-appearing under a slightly different guise or featuring a different site. Let's be careful out there.

The motives, much less the perpetrators of the Twitter phishing campaign, are unknown. Possible motivations might be the use of compromised accounts to send messages advertising dodgy diet sites (earning marketing affiliate revenue in the process), or the use of compromised Twitter account login credentials to break into other services (email, Facebook etc). This latter trick is only possible thanks to the widespread but hopelessly insecure practice of using the same password on multiple websites. ®

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