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When ParetoLogic's Spyware Analysis Team (SWAT) made another recent malware discovery, it was certainly something to tweet about.
"Twitter helped me break the news about new Mac Trojan," said Jerome Segura, SWAT's leader. "It was quickly picked up by industry experts and the media."
With multiple accounts, ParetoLogic has embraced Twitter as a way of getting new information out to its customers and computer users in general. The free social networking site is the epitome of microblogging, allowing only 140 characters per posts or "tweet".
ParetoLogic Email Marketing team leader Blake Crone said the Twitter accounts offer "a human voice for our company." Both he and Segura have been tweeting for about three to four months and said response has been good. Segura noted Twitter has helped him make numerous new contacts and establish partnerships.
Segura tweets via the @malwarediaries account, which complements SWAT's Malware Diaries blog. His posts focus mostly on new malware discoveries and security company trends. Meanwhile, Crone uses the @ParetoEmail account to provide security news, tips and special offers on ParetoLogic software.
As of July 13, 2009, Twitter was the 26th most popular website in the world, according to Alexa Internet, a web information company. While Twitter does not release its number of active accounts, a Compete.com February 2009 blog entry estimated the number of unique monthly visitors was about six million.
The microblogging site has became an interesting place where you can keep up-to-date on your neighbor's gardening or your favorite entertainer or athlete. Basketball player Shaquille O'Neal used his account during the National Basketball Association playoffs to announce his support of former teammate Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers' bid for another title as well as make negative remarks about his one-time head coach, Stan Van Gundy, whose Orlando Magic were also in the NBA finals.
Twitter's popularity has certainly been noted by cybercriminals. Like MySpace and Facebook before it, Twitter users are being targeted.
"Yes, like any other social networking site, Twitter has already been used by malware authors," Segura said. "In particular, there are computer worms derived from infected profiles where users are enticed to click on malicious links."
Recently the Koobface Worm began spreading on Twitter. The worm tries to spread by posting fake messages on infected users' account to entice others to click on links. If selected, the link leads to malicious website where they are often asked to download something, for example an upgrade for the Flash multimedia player, but instead it is the Koobface Worm, according to a July 10 PC World website article. As well as its ability to spread, Koobface can also download other malware and steal data from your computer, the article stated.
When it comes to Twitter it is best to employ regular safe surfing practices and use a reliable anti-virus software. Keep Twitter fun - follow whoever you like, but only click links from reputable and known sources.
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