Identity Theft Expert Robert Siciliano

“Misty Buttons” just started following me on Twitter. She’s a curvaceous bodacious and seemingly oppressed follower who isn’t getting her needs met. She apparently needs me to meet those needs. It is of course a tempting offer that someone, somewhere may accept. I’m going to pass. Twitter porn and cyber crime are one in the same. Criminal hackers are using porn lure unsuspecting “twits” into their lair, distributing malicious software and getting the pent-up to enter credit card data. In some cases they deserve to be scammed.

Links showing up in Twitter feeds from these ne’er-do-wells who have nothing better to do can have a devastating effect on your PC and your bank account if you start clicking links.

Antivirus provider McAfee reported a 500 percent increase in malware in 2008 — more than the past five years combined. Coinciding with this finding the FBI reported a 33 percent increase in Internet crime last year.

Additionally, companies who were breached lost an average of $4.6 million in intellectual property according to a survey of 1000 firms. This is all due to insufficient hardware, outdated software and the numerous ruses used on technology users who let the criminal in the back door because they decided to appease Misty Buttons.

But it’s not just the obvious Twitter porn that you need to be alert to, it’s also current events from tweets from those you follow that may look legitimate. Criminals have figured out that Twitter is a social network that brings people together, people who you’ve never met, but now follow you, and you often follow them back. Now they are in your network and are “in your trusted circle”.

Just like in email phishing scams, criminals send out tweets highlighting current events with links that lead to malicious sites or direct downloads that infect your PC. Reports of malicious tweets pointing to news of Michael Jackson, Obama, Farrah Fawcett, Iraq and even the Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings have been reported on numerous news outlets.

What helps to mask the scam is short urls to keep the tweets in 140 characters. As reported on NextAdvisor there are dangers posed by miniature URLs that are often used in place of full length links. Whenever a complete URL is too long or cumbersome, many users turn to URL shortening services like TinyURL. Unfortunately, a condensed URL that appears harmless can easily lead to a malware download or phishing site, rather than the destination you were expecting. What appears to be a link to a friend’s home video may actually be pointing you toward the Koobface virus. Hackers can target a single URL shortening service and intentionally misroute millions of users.

How to protect yourself:

1. To find out where those mini URLs lead before you click on them, paste them into a URL lengthening service (naturally!) like TinyURL Decoder or Untiny.

2. Install and keep automatically updated anti-virus protection.

3. Get a credit freeze. Go online now and search “credit freeze” or “security freeze” and go to consumersunion.org and follow the steps for the state you live in. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes the SSN useless to the thief.

4. Invest in Intelius Identity Theft Protection. While not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, you can effectively manage your personal identifying information by knowing what’s buzzing out there in regards to YOU.

Robert Siciliano identity theft speaker discussing identity theft

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