Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Twitter Malware: It's Coming After You

Most of readers of this blog are sophisticated social media users. I would include myself in that category. Well, I would have until last Sunday.

I may need to wear a shirt like this in the office.
Yes, I will come out and admit it for once. I got suckered into clicking on Twitter malware link that was forwarded to me by one of my trusted venture friends. Now that I got that off my chest, and demonstrated that I could be just as naive as thousands of users out in the internet, I think I can talk about this incident somewhat objectively.

It turns out that this particular malware spreads by getting Twitter user to click on the shorten t.co URL that was sent via private message. When unsuspecting recipient clicks on the link, it automatically sends the same tweet to all of the recipient's followers as private message. Very sneaky.

It was quite an embarrassing moment when I realized what just happened (I even had to update the new Twitter app to follow the link on my iPhone). Thanks to a couple of my co-workers and good Twitter citizen @DevonAlderton, I came to my senses only after a few hours later. Once a few seconds of disillusionment of my malware detect-o-meter had passed, I regained enough composure to delete all my private tweets to all my followers (thank goodness I don't have Kim Kardashian's follower base), and took remedial actions to shore up my defense.