Barracuda Labs have recently issued a report [PDF] based on analysis of more than 26 million twitter accounts.
Core findings of the report show that twitter crime (tweets aimed at some kind of criminal or malware related activity) increased 20% from the first half of 2010 to the second half.
As the popular micro-blogging site gets even more users, the number of attacks is on the increase, driven by the low-character count of a post which exploits URL shorteners to take users off to malware sites.
Don’t let the malware writers win, however; there are some things you can do to try to beat the bad guys, such as:
- Make sure you use your common sense – offers sounding too good to be true are.
- If you use a twitter client, make sure it expands URLs, so you know where you are going if you click on a shortened link. Tweetdeck does this.
- In all cases, if you are on a PC when accessing twitter, it is essential you are running an up-to-date antivirus and good anti-spyware product.
- Report inappropriate content to twitter support, and block the user who sent it (though you may need to be careful, it might have come from a hacked account).
- If you feel your account is being hacked, check what applications and sites you have allowed access to your account, and revoke suspicious connections.
- Finally, stay alert to the signs that you may have been infected with malware (slow system, strange system behaviour, strange browser behaviour, hijacked links in your browser, etc.)