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Types of Spamming on Twitter

Spam on Twitter has become a growing problem and with more and more individuals and businesses using the social networking service, it is expected that spam will continue to be on the rise. In addition, Twitter is an open application programming interface (API) and it does not require a valid email address when you are creating an account which further increases the risk of spam.

There are many different ways that spammers operate on Twitter with more methods on the horizon as Twitter continues to grow. To give you a general idea of how spammers operate, here are a few different methods they use.

Short URLs

Although businesses promote their products through a subtle approach, spammers blatantly promote their business opportunities or scams on Twitter through the use of short URLs. Short URLs are used frequently due to the 140 character limit on tweets so; it is impossible to tell if the link is a scam or contains a virus, Trojan, or other type of malware.

Hijacking

Hackers can hijack Twitter accounts by breaking into the account and using it to send out spam. Hackers usually target accounts that have an extensive list of followers so they can send out spam. This usually includes the accounts of famous people but it can happen to any Twitter user. One way around this is to avoid using passwords that hackers can easily guess but like everything else, there is no guarantee.

Hash Tags on Trend Topics

Trending topics on Twitter are topics that are currently popular on Twitter. Spammers exploit the trending topic by adding a hash tag to a popular keyword in their tweet that is related to the trending topic. As a result, spammers increase the visibility of their tweets because they show up more often in popular searches.

Tweetjacking

Tweetjacking occurs when spammers reply to tweets by replying to your @username. When they reply or retweet the messages appear in your timeline. Often the messages contain a short URL that replaces your URL and leads clickers to a porn site or, worse yet, a site laced with malware.

Follower Fraud

The success of your Twitter account is partially dependent upon the number of people that are following you. As mentioned earlier, creating an account is very easy which encourages spammers to automate the process and collect a massive amount of counterfeit followers. The spammer then turns around and attempts to sell the account for a good amount of money and repeat the process to cultivate their spam group.

Twitter provides instructions on their site on how to report spam and abuse. There are also a number of Twitter spam applications such as TwitBlock and TwerpScan that will help you block spam and they are free for the asking.

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser