Twitter to Check All Links for Malware

Dennis Faas's picture

Those who tweet on Twitter can rest a little easier now that their social network medium is taking effective measures to keep phishing attacks (and cyber criminals in general) away from the site. The new service will scan all links to keep online goons from spreading their malware across the popular micro blogging destination.

Once the service is launched, all links submitted to Twitter will be routed through the system so that malicious links can be detected. This will prevent users from clicking onto corrupt links under false pretenses.

In a recent blog post, Del Harvey, director of the Twitter trust and safety team, praised the forthcoming system, stating "Even if a bad link is already sent out in an email notification and somebody clicks on it, we'll be able keep that user safe." (Source:

Shortened Links Keep Tweeters Safe

If you look close enough, you can see links that are now shortened to "" These will appear in direct messages and email notifications. It is through direct messages and email notifications that most phishing problems occur.

Talks of a new phishing prevention system will be a great relief for Twitter users. Recently, industry analysts Barracuda Networks produced a report indicating a rise in cyber criminal activity on Twitter between November 2008 and April 2009.

The number of accounts created during that period that were suspended for malicious or suspicious activity, or were somehow misused, increased by a whopping 66 percent. (Source:

Users Encouraged to Stay Informed

Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder, advised users to read the "Keeping Your Account Secure" section of the site to learn ways of avoiding phishing attacks.

While a number of uncertainties do surround the new link-checking system, one thing is certain: if it works as advertised, other social networking sites will have a tall order ahead of them when catching up to these new security standards.

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