Twitter phishing attack spreads via Direct Messages

Filed Under: Featured, Phishing, Social networks, Spam, Twitter

Twitter users are reporting receiving direct messages (DMs) from other members of the network, cheekily asking if it is them who is pictured in a photo, video or mentioned in a blog post.

Various versions of the dangerous messages include:

is this you in the video?

is this you in this picture?

check this out... it's a funny blog post. you're mentioned in it.

Clicking on the link attached to the message can take you to what appears, at first glance, to be the Twitter login page.

Twitter phishing page

But take a closer look, and you'll see that the website isn't the real twitter.com. The url is wrong.

Twitter phishing page url

If you make the mistake of entering your username and password on the page, in the hope of seeing the picture or video or blog post about you, then you could be handing your login credentials to cybercriminals. They could then use the information to spread scams further across the network, spam out malicious links or use the passwords against other websites where you might use the same login details.

Del Harvey, who runs Twitter's Safety team, says that Twitter is resetting the passwords of users who it believes have been hit by the phishing attack.

If you use the same password in multiple places, it only takes one password to be stolen for fraudsters to be able to gain access to your other accounts and steal information for financial gain.

It's also important that you don't use a word from the dictionary as your password. It's easy to understand why computer users pick dictionary words as they're much easier to remember, but as I explain in this video a good trick is to pick a sentence and just use the first letter of every word to make up your password.

(Enjoy this video? You can check out more on the SophosLabs YouTube channel and subscribe if you like)

Password security is becoming more important than ever. Make sure that you're taking the issue seriously, or suffer the consequences.

But, if you found your Twitter account was one of those sending out the phishing messages, you shouldn't just change your password and consider if you are using the same password elsewhere. You should also visit the Applications tab in "Account Settings", and revoke access for any third-party application that you don't recognise.

Follow me on Twitter if you want to keep up-to-speed with the latest threats, and learn how to protect yourself.

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6 Responses to Twitter phishing attack spreads via Direct Messages

  1. Helen · 1180 days ago

    Thank you for this post! Much appreciated and needed.

  2. antivir2010 · 1179 days ago

    Glad i use LastPass

  3. Anon · 1172 days ago

    Simpler solution, DONT use twitter !!

  4. Simply Vintage · 1171 days ago

    Thank you so much for this info, I haven't been caught out but sent a lot of people to this post that have. Thanks :)

  5. Thanks for the post. Hadn't clicked on the link thankfully!

  6. Cinema Profound · 1168 days ago

    This was a very well done article. We've all been hearing about these phishing schemes, but you were very specific about what to look for and how to safeguard from these cyber attacks. Thank you very much for sharing this crucial information.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a 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.