Scammers are using compromised Twitter accounts to prey on suspecting victims, security firm Sophos is reporting today.
According to the firm, compromised Twitter accounts are sending out tweets and direct messages to followers, urging them to sign up for a site that will help them make some money. One such message from an account reads, "I made $888 today check out how I made it." The message is followed by a link to a malicious site.
According to Sophos, the dollar amount in the tweets and messages can vary.
Sophos says that when users click on the included link, they will be brought to a site that claims to help single mothers and teenagers make "thousands of dollars" each day. However, those who fall prey to the scam will only "end up out of pocket" if they sign up, Sophos said.As Barracuda Networks revealed earlier this year at the RSA security conference, Twitter has proven appealing to scammers because of its functionality both as a social network and search engine. And the worst part is, many of the site's malicious accounts are more popular than you might think.
Barracuda pointed to one Twitter account, called Download-Heaven, which had 445 followers recently, even though it directed folks to hosted shareware containing malware and Trojans. What's more, the company found in its research of Twitter that just 43 percent of users were considered legitimate. The remaining 57 percent of users were "questionable."
Over a five-month period, Barracuda found 34,627 samples of malware in search engines and on Twitter. According to the research firm, Twitter accounted for 8 percent of that total.
"It's interesting, because we've been doing this work for probably nine months of a year now, and the last time we really examined it and looked back on this, it charted very differently," Barracuda Networks chief research officer Paul Judge said earlier this year. "About 69 percent of the malware that we found was on Google at the time, only 1 percent was on Twitter."
But Twitter hasn't just sat still. The social network last year launched a filtering service that aims at stopping malicious links from being included in direct messages. The company's link-shortening service, t.co, also helps to safeguard users from malicious links.
According to Sophos, keeping safe from the latest threat is quite simple: don't click on the link in the direct message or tweet. Users who have had their accounts compromised should reset their passwords. Sophos also recommends those folks scan their computers for malware.