Monday, 20 July 2009

Beware the Jabberwock, my Son

Interesting times battling against “followersfree.com” an evil Twitter Spambot thing! This is a first for me, and, let it be said, entirely my own silly fault. Whilst in the general Twitterstream at the weekend, I noticed a grow your numbers scheme called “followersforfree.com.” This, I thought, was a reincarnation of a similar automated scheme Twitter banned earlier this year which included the ability to follow/ unfollow people en masse. I have at the same time been trying to get round a change in the Twitter display that doesn't show immediately whether you can direct message people you follow, in other words whether they are following you. I thought I’d try and see if this site held some way of getting multiple follow/ unfollow/ people listed, as this is a classic pattern indicative of activity by spammers and the like. Big mistake.

Do not touch this site with a bargepole. The advice Twitter itelf gives is good — never give out details to any scheme that claims to be able to build your numbers. Within minutes I found this evil SpamBot was sending out a message in my name, which had transferred across to publish through Facebook.

I then tried to unsubscribe, and blow me down, it sent out another spam in my name to say I'd unsubscribed. I tried changing my Twitter password, but it kept on changing back! I tried suspending access privileges on my account, but it hadn't got these in the first place. Every time I changed password, out went another evil Spam message!

Twitter has currently limited my acccount’s ability to change password, probably as a reaction to all the gyrations. I am wondering whether the evil bot has some way of changing my password back (I can’t see how that would work). In the meanwhile I need to say:
  1. Nobody else has got infected through this. It's just an annoyance.
  2. There is no evidence this SwineFlu of Evil Bots can touch you unless you go to their site and engage. So just don’t.
  3. Nor is there any evidence that it can infect anyone else through you. It just sends out messages plugging itself as though you had sent them from your Twitter account.
  4. I have now had three clear hours without any message going out in my name — touch wood.
  5. I never did find out how the thing from the Swamp’s unfollow unfollowers routine works.
  6. The story may not be entirely over, but I believe it is for now. I am retreating back to my cave to clean the Exorcist style green puke off my cassock, and rub out a few bits of Jabberwocky spam that got splashed around the place in my name. It's all in a day's work, I suppose, and an interesting learning experience...

2 comments:

christine said...

sadly i have found it amusing - this from a woman who once activated so many virus protectors and anti spam agents that they cancelled one another and wrecked the computer :o(

philgroom said...

If it's any comfort, you're not the only one to have gone down with spambotflu - one of my followers, Chloe, got eaten by one today. If you want the sordid details, which conveniently highlights a list of similar sites to avoid, do this twitter search: http://twitter.com/#search?q=chloelowewew11.

Chloe's account, sadly, is no more. I very much hope you don't go the same way!! :(

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