“Did you see this photo of you?” “Look on your face in this pix is priceless!” “LMAO this video of you is funny!”
If you’re a regular Twitter user, you’ve probably see tweets like those come through as @replies or direct messages at some point. And you probably know not to click on the accompanying link. After all, there is no picture of you behind it, only a malicious web page set up by a criminal that wants to scam you, spam you or worse – infect your computer with malware.
But now there’s a tool that gives you added protection against these sorts of threats. Bitdefender’s new Safego protection for Twitter scans your profile for spam, phishing attempts and malware, and automatically notifies you when threats are detected.
Similar to the company’s Safego Facebook app, the new Twitter protection (now in beta), uses the same anti-malware and anti-phishing engines to scan the URLs posted to your profile.
The service checks unknown users before you follow them, checks the accounts of people you’re following and scans direct messages for spam, suspicious links and highjacking attempts. Threats are ranked by their severity as red, yellow, grey (low threat) or green (no threat). An optional setting can also warn your friends if it finds their accounts have been compromised.
But the service stops short of deleting tweets or unfollowing users on your behalf – it notifies you via direct message instead.
To use the service, you simply sign in with Twitter and authorize the Bitdefender Safego application as you would any other third-party app. You can then scan Twitter users’ profiles, your Twitter timeline and your direct messages, as well as configure any necessary settings.
The app is clearly in its development period, I must warn. The first time I tried it, there were issues authenticating my account and I was directed to the Bitdefender 404 page. But because the app is in beta right now, I supposed I’ll give it a pass for the crash. It’s stable at present (if a bit slow). And, let’s face it, the app is providing a much-need service for the spam-overridden, link-filled social network that is today’s Twitter.
While the service did an OK job with detecting obvious threats upon its initial scan, I was surprised that it had some big misses too. For example, it claimed some anonymous link-tweeting profile was safe, when it was clearly a spam bot.
Still, this app is notable because of its uniqueness. After checking with several security firms for similar products, the closest we could come up with was McAfee Mobile Security’s SiteAdvisor, which scans links in all social networking sites, including Twitter. But none of the firms connected had heard of a dedicated anti-malware app just for Twitter.
But as with anything security-related, you can’t just trust software alone to do the job for you – you need to use a little common sense, too.