Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/20/twitter_racy_image_spam/

Twitter profile image spam touts smut

Racy rogue followers hunt sheep

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 20th August 2009 14:34 GMT

A Twitter spam campaign launched over Thursday night has seen many users of the micro-blogging site gaining new followers with racy profile images, inviting prospective marks to connect via MSN.

The ruse follows the creation of hundreds of bogus profiles, each of which have latched onto numerous potential targets as followers. Each of the cheeky profiles comes complete with a picture, featuring random pictures of young strumpets in variable stages of undress, together with an embedded message inviting users to connect via MSN.

The ruse is ultimately designed to coax micro-bloggers into visiting websites and perhaps to sign-up, earning miscreants behind the ruse commissions in the process.

Some security researchers, such as Chris Boyd at FaceTime, doubt the approach will work, not least because prospective punters have to do more than simply follow a link.

Embedding dodgy come-ons in images in this way makes it harder for Twitter to identify and suspend the accounts of offenders than would be the case if they were included as pitches in regular 140-character Tweets.

Anti-virus firm Sophos notes that Twitter spammers have effectively adopted an image spam tactic that's been widely used by email spammers for years. More on the new nuisance, the latest in a long and growing series of security problems to befall Twitter, can be found here. ®