TimeSpentHere rogue app spreads virally on Twitter

Filed Under: Social networks, Spam, Twitter

Some Twitter users have fallen for yet another rogue application, tricking them into believing that they will discover how many hours they have spent tweeting their little hearts out.

WOW --> I have spent X hours on Twitter! See how much you have

A typical message reads:

WOW --> I have spent 38.1 hours on Twitter! See how much you have: [LINK]

If you are curious enough to click on the link, which - of course - you might do, seeing as it will appear as if one of your Twitter friends has posted it, then you will be asked to authorise a third party app's request to access your Twitter account.

The app is called TimeSpentHere, and it can only cause a problem for you if you grant it permission to access your Twitter account. If you do, then it will be able to read your Tweets, post in your name, and even change your profile. I'm sure you can imagine the potential for abuse there.

Authorise TimeSpentHere rogue Twitter app

Of course, the very first thing it will do is post a tweet in your name, encouraging your Twitter followers to also click on the link:

Compromised Twitter account

Not that you'll necessary notice that, of course, as it posts the message silently, taking your browser to a webpage of the bad guys' own creation.

When I tested the scam on a test account, the webpage was reluctant to tell me how many hours I had spent on Twitter (as you can see in the following graphic) but had no qualms in dreaming up an imaginary number to tweet in the hope that it could tempt unsuspecting onlookers.

Webpage created by rogue app developers

You'll notice, however, that they do ask if I wouldn't mind entering my email address "as a security precaution". Well, I certainly do mind! And so should you.

Blue birdPossibly this is an attempt to harvest email addresses, which could be used later for a phishing campaign or malware attack.

It could - of course - be weeks or months before the scammers use any information they grab for criminal purposes, but if you want to find out more follow me on Twitter, and I'll let you know if there are any developments.

Rogue applications are popping up more and more on Twitter, whereas previously they were mostly seen only by Facebook users.

If you were unfortunate enough to grant a rogue applications access to your Twitter account, revoke its rights immediately by going to the Twitter website and visiting Settings/Applications (it used to be called Settings/Connections but it seems that Twitter has changed it) and revoking the offending app's rights.

Revoke access for rogue apps

Don't make it easy for scammers to make money in this way, and always exercise caution about which third party apps you allow to connect with your social networking accounts.

Update: Del Harvey of Twitter's security team has told me (in her own inimitable style) that the TimeSpentHere rogue application has now been killed off.

I wonder how long until the next rogue app pops up on Twitter though..

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One Response to TimeSpentHere rogue app spreads virally on Twitter

  1. Kirsty · 1057 days ago

    You're doing a fantastic job, I always enjoy reading your blogging and such. It's a shame that so many people fall for these kind of things. Keep up the good work :)

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About the author

Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, and veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.