Our research director, Chris Boyd, has posted an interesting description of a new micro-blogging spam discovery. What does this have to do with businesses, you ask?
Two things: Twitter has the potential to be a business tool, and employees are bringing it into the enterprise anyway.
Companies like Zappos are on the leading edge of using Twitter for business. They’re encouraging employees to Twitter, and using it for customer service and tracking it for branding information. So many indispensable business tools crept into the enterprise the same way (email, IM, file sharing, and even Web surfing).
Plus, chances are your employees are using Twitter at the office somehow: on the Web, texting from a company cell phone, or through the dozens of apps that connect with the service. Those dozens of apps bring us back to Chris Boyd’s discovery. He discovered a new tool to produce automated spam micro-blogging messages. It’s not hitting Twitter itself yet, but similar sites that are popular abroad. The spammer hooks a micro-blogging account up to a MSN instant messaging client, and then infects their IM client with a bot to spew messages. It could be used to spread malware or adware links.
Just as with IM, Twitter messages are so immediate and informal that people are more likely to click a link without thinking. We’re all trained to avoid spam email, but it’s harder to tell if a brief message is legitimate.
For now, this discovery hasn’t hit Twitter because the integration is complicated, but watch this space…and tell your employees not to click on just any hyperlink.