Twitter malicious software attacks drag on

Share this article:

Despite ongoing efforts to address the problem, attacks based on exploiting Twitter's "trending topics" show no sign of abating, according to researchers at Panda Security.

The ploy involves finessing topics that are popular on any given day. The attackers post multiple messages, known as tweets, ostensibly discussing or expanding on a topic. The tweets typically have a brief phrase followed by a link, which leads to a fake anti-virus website or a site designed to look like a movie trailer that prompts users to download a codec disguising malicious code.

“The attacks have been ongoing since early June,” Sean-Paul Correll, threat researcher and security evangelist at Panda Security, told SCMagazineUS.com on Monday. “They have not stopped and are still going right now. In one 15-minute period, I saw 1,500 tweets redirecting to a site pushing malicious files.”

Some of the current topics include the iPhone, Tim Burton's forthcoming movie Alice in Wonderland, and the Iran election.

Recently, the attackers used a free hosting provider. They created accounts with the provider, then created several Twitter accounts and automated the process of sending the tweets, Correll said.

He added that he had contacted the freeware site and was told it was working on eliminating the malicious accounts. He had mixed feelings about the Twitter response, however.

“I'm kind of disappointed in Twitter,” Correll said. “As far as making the community aware of this problem, there has been no outreach. Twitter says that it keeps the community informed about problems, but there has been no mention of this in their blog.”

Efforts to reach Twitter were not successful Monday.

“The Twitter staff is doing a good job of eliminating the malicious accounts,” Correll said. “But the attackers just come back with 70 or 80 new accounts in response, all tweeting about whatever the hot trending topics are.”

His advice on dealing with the problem: Keep anti-virus programs up to date, be careful when clicking Twitter trending topics and avoid clicking on tweets from untrusted sources.

 

 

Share this article:
You must be a registered member of SC Magazine to post a comment.

Sign up to our newsletters

TOP COMMENTS

More in News

Email promises free pizza, ensnares victims in Asprox botnet instead

Email promises free pizza, ensnares victims in Asprox ...

Cloudmark came upon an email that offers free pizza, but clicking on the link to get the coupon ends with victims being ensnared in a botnet.

Report: most orgs lacking in response team, policies to address cyber incidents

In its Q3 threat intelligence report, Solutionary learned that 75 percent of organizations it assisted had no response team or policies and procedures to address cyber incidents.

Flash redirect campaign impacts Carnegie Mellon page, leads to Angler EK

Flash redirect campaign impacts Carnegie Mellon page, leads ...

Malwarebytes found that, since early July, thousands of sites had been targeted in the campaign.