Twitter Spam Links

A demonstration of Twitter spam links, what they look like and what they do.

Twitter spam link sampleIn the past few hours I’ve received two spam links in Twitter messages (tweets to me, not Direct Messages), having received none for several weeks.  Either this is an odd coincidence or a troubling sign of a sharp increase in the problem.

This quick post will highlight what to look out for, what to check and what to do about spammers on Twitter…

Twitter spam link sampleThe image above is the first spam link I received and here is the second…

What first raised my suspicion on both occasions is that I don’t recall having spoken with either sender previously.

The fact that there is no associated message is another clue but this could be easily overcome if the spammers spent more than a few minutes putting these things together.  Also the fact that they have used a URL shortening service is no clue as these are very popular (ow.ly bit.ly tinyurl.com and so on).

What’s behind the link?

Twitter spammer's timeline

If you happen to click on either link you would be taken to a temporary holding page that would redirect you to some other website, a random selection from a group of websites that will earn the spammers a commission for each page visit that they can generate (in the hope that some poor schmuck will actually but what’s being promoted).  Some of these websites will display pornographic material on your screen without warning, which can be quite awkward in an office or family home environment.

What should I check?

If you click on the senders username (toquintovprod6 in the first sample above and naasryfgq3 in the second) instead of the link, it will show you  their recent timeline as shown on the right.  Notice that all of their messages look very similar.  Some spammers will use the same link over and over while others will use a small selection of variations.

You’ll probably also notice in the spammers details that the have 0 following and 0 followers; these accounts are set up and disposed of quickly for the single purpose of pumping out as many spam links as they can before the account is shut down.

What should I do?

Twitter - block spammersAcross the top of the spammers timeline is the Action bar with the Follow button the left and a drop-down menu on the right.  Click the drop-down menu and select “report <spammers_name> for spam”  this will report the account to Twitter administrators also remove the spam message from your feed.  Once Twitter receive enough complaints about an account they will investigate and shut that account down.

Hope this help 🙂