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Twitter Filtering Malicious Links with Google’s Help

Twitter, the micro-blogging website has started to filter tweets containing links, which divert users onto sites that reputed entities recognize as malicious. TheRegister reported this on August 3, 2009.

In the endeavor to sieve malware sites, Twitter is receiving Google's help. Accordingly, Google has lent its 'Safe Browsing 'Application Programming Interface' (API) feature to Twitter that helps client software to examine if the URLs received are malware or phishing pages against a continuously updated blacklist from Google.

Meanwhile, Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen at security firm F-Secure who discovered the malware filtering tool on Twitter on August 3, 2009 says that whenever a tweet carries an URL link connecting to a Google blacklisted site, a message appears on Twitter which warns the user that his tweet has a URL connecting to a malicious site, thus reports PCWorld on August 3, 2009.

Subsequently, Twitter deletes the message after keeping it on the screen momentarily.

And although specialists on Internet security applauded Twitter for providing the unique filtering feature they said that still a great deal of work was needed from the site. The specialists, however, had conducted certain examinations during when they found that the feature prevented access to a link, which took a user onto a phishing website, yet it let access to the link if its URL was condensed with facilities like Bit.ly or Tinyurl.com. Since Twitter mandates posting tweets limited to 140 characters, these URL condensing facilities serve as the commonest technique to post web-links on Twitter.

Moreover, the malware filtering tool allowed those phishing links as well whose 'www' prefix was eliminated from the URL, meaning that stripping the 'www' sub-domain from the phishing URL allowed the latter to pass through Twitter with no warning message too.

Says F-Secure, Twitter has been recommended to use the filter as the website increasingly receives attacks from viruses, account hijacking and spam, according to a posting from Hypponen, blogged on August 3, 2009 on f-secure.com. In July 2009, the account of Guy Kawasaki a Technology Entrepreneur was misused for posting a malicious link, while fake security software links have been targeting end-users recently.

Related article: Twitter Flaw Compels Victims to Follow Hacker’s Account

» SPAMfighter News - 8/20/2009

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