Identity Theft Expert Robert Siciliano
Twitter phishing is a growing problem and is spreading through a virus. Twitter accounts that have been hacked are spreading a link with a request to click on and download a video.
Some Twitter phishing involves Twitter porn. Today Ena Fuentes, who’s definitely a hot little number, started following me on Twitter and wants me to check out her new pics. Problem is Ena is probably controlled by a dude from some little village in an oppressed country who’s using dumb human libido to snare his intended victims.
The Register reports users who follow these links are invited to submit their login credentials via a counterfeit Twitter login page (screenshot via Sophos here). In the process they surrender control of their micro-blogging account to hackers, who use the access to send out a fresh round of phishing lures.
In the past, compromised accounts have sent pictures and links to spoofed websites. The new attacks mimick email address book attacks when the compromised account sends direct messages to the users followers. Twitter only allows direct messages to those who are following you.
When clicking links and downloading whatever intended multi media file, the unsuspecting victim may end up with a virus that spreads a keylogger and/or harvests user login details. Criminals know many internet users have the same passwords for multiple accounts.
Shortened URLs that are necessary to keep tweets within the 140 character limit help mask these scams. As explained by NextAdvisor:
“Whenever a complete URL is too long or cumbersome, many users turn to URL shortening services like TinyURL. Unfortunately, a condensed URL that appears harmless can easily lead to a malware download or phishing site, rather than the destination you were expecting. What appears to be a link to a friend’s home video may actually be pointing you toward the Koobface virus. Hackers can target a single URL shortening service and intentionally misroute millions of users.”
How to protect yourself:
- Don’t just click on any link no matter where it’s coming from. Attackers understand a person is more likely to click a link from someone they know, like and trust. If someone direct messages you requesting you click something, their account may be in control of a criminal.
- Before you click on shortened URLs, find out where they lead by pasting them into a URL lengthening service like TinyURL Decoder or Untiny.
- Install McAfee anti-virus protection and keep it updated.
- Change up your passwords. Don’t use the same passwords for social media as you do for financial accounts.
- Get a credit freeze. Go to ConsumersUnion.org and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.
- Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft protection can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk.
Robert Siciliano identity theft speaker discussing hacked accounts on Fox News