Intersections’ Consumer Security Adviser, Neal O’Farrell continues his security update series. Today,he writes about a recent string of Twitter attacks. The moral of the story? Beef up your Twitter and Facebook passwords!
Seems like hackers and scammers are not forgetting about Twitter when it comes to spreading malware, junk and scams. For a while there it seemed like Facebook had become the favorite child but a recent uptick in Twitter scams proves that as long as it’s a popular way to share and communicate, Twitter will always be a target.
In the most recent scam, Twitter scammers are circulating spam offering free iTunes gift cards. And they appear to have even gone to the trouble of actually creating accounts for non-existent users so they can make the scam look as real and convincing as possible. Clicking on the link in the message doesn’t get you to your free gift card, but instead of a variety of web sites, some of them dating sites, that request your personal financial information.
That scam came on the heels of another attack where the scammers used compromised Twitter accounts to spam thousands of users with messages about a get rich quick scam. Clicking on the link in that message took users to web sites designed to look like local newspaper, where fake participants gave glowing testimonials about how much money could be made from these work-at-home schemes.
And only a week ago, thousands of Twitter users received tweets from friends promoting the miracle “beach body diet.” Turns out it was just another Acai berry promo but again it appeared as though many Twitter users had their account passwords compromised.
As usual, these attacks have common threads, and one of the most common in a compromised password. These scams work best when the messages appear to come from friends. And that’s usually achieved by hacking the “friend’s” Twitter account by taking advantage of a weak password.
• If you haven’t already done so, beef up your Twitter and Facebook passwords. Ideally they should be 8-12 characters, and a random mix of letters, numbers and even symbols.
• Protect your password at all times and don’t share it with others, even for fun.
• Don’t use the same password for multiple web sites. That’s a common practice and makes it much too easy to exploit mistakes.
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