As the television series “Breaking Bad” comes to a close, spammers have taken to Twitter to take advantage of the social media frenzy surrounding the show.
According to Satnam Narang, security response manager at Symantec, Twitter users were being added to a "Breaking Bad"-themed "list” in order to lure them into affiliate advertising schemes. Twitter lists are groups that account holders can create to keep track of specific users.
Once added to the list, users that visited the group creator's feed were presented with spurious links to the second-to-last episode of the AMC show, which aired on Sunday. The tweets consisted of Pastebin.com links to the "leaked" or "newest" episode of "Breaking Bad."
In a Friday blog post, Narang warned that once users visited Pastebin, a number of links to other file-hosting services were presented to them. To download the torrent files, however, users were prompted to install software, called "7-Zip," needed to view large video files.
"In order to open the large file, users are instructed to download the latest version of 7-Zip," Narang wrote. "The link directs users through an affiliate program, which is how scammers make money. The affiliate program directs users to an installer that comes bundled with other applications. Users can choose not to install these applications," he said.
In addition to the "Breaking Bad" ruse, Narang warned that spam campaigns using Twitter's "list" function were “gaining quite a bit of traction.”
“If you find yourself added to a Twitter list, you can remove yourself from the list by reporting the user that added you,” Narang advised.