Firstly, we received, from our friends a wonderful direct message like this,
Hey, this you?? (and a link)The obvious human reaction, especially with lots of pictures up on the web, is to click the link because it is a direct message from someone you at least vaguely know.
Ahhhh, big mistake!
Clicking the link will confirm, to a nasty little git, your username and your password. All they need to start being you on Twitter. They will use your account to spread the message again ending up with large lists. Sometimes its just an idiot messing about, other times they can spread viruses onto your computer, and even worse could allow them to find out passwords to other things like bank accounts.
The mesage is simple: DO NOT CLICK ON UNSOLICITED LINKS.
If the message is from someone you know, check with them first to confirm they sent it.
Next i started recieving really nice messages like this,
hi, i'm 24/female/horny... i have to get off here but message me on my windows live messenger name (and a hotmail account)Now that is wonderful except that one of the people who messaged me was Barry McIlduff MLA. Now, I, for one, am fairly sure he is neither 24, female and horny. But then who am I to judge??
It did not stop there either, more messages coming through,
hhey, i've been having better sex and longer with this here (and a link)Sorry, but I am quite happy, thank you very much. Besides I am married with two kids, I am too knackered.
All the messages are phishing messages.
Phishing is a name originally given to e-mail fraud methods where a scammer sent out legitimate-looking emails in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from recipients. Typically, the messages appeared to come from well known and trustworthy Web sites, or indeed from friends.
A phishing expedition, like the fishing expedition it's named for, is a speculative venture, where the phisher puts the lure hoping to fool at least a few of the prey that encounter the bait.
Phishers can be very sophisticated or just use a very simple message like a worm to lure you into giving them personal details.
The one thing people can do to reduce risk is to be very suspicious of messages that are not clear or offer to give you a bigger weenie (particularly suspicious for females who get these messages), or better sex.
If you are suspicious that you have fallen for a scam, IMMEDIATELY change your password.
You have been warned!
Be safe in the twitterverse!