Greed vs. Fear: The Eternal Battle Comes to Twitter!

By James Fallows

As I've laid out in my current article about a Gmail hacking episode, many spammers, phishers, hackers, and other electronic intruders are technically gifted but lacking in cross-cultural EQ. "Hello My Goodsir! It is I, the authentic Former President of Gabon, requesting your help in retrieving $38.2 million cruelly taken from me. Your share in the rewards shall be handsome. You need only send me your financial particulars..."

Here's an exception: a wicked little Twitter-based phishing exercise that I've been been receiving these past few days. It appears as a purported "Direct Message" from a friend. Here's a sample, with blurring to conceal just which friend this came from and what the phishing link is.

TwitPhis3.png

In case you can't read the screen shot, it's a "friend's" concerned message saying, "What's going on with this bad blog that's going around about you?" With a (certainly dangerous) link to click on for more info.

Ah, those two great motivators, greed and fear. The authentic Former President of Gabon preys on greed; this Tweet Phish plays on fear, or rather its more corrosive cousin insecurity, in Autumn-2011 version.

You have to respect the savvy of whoever came up with this. And if you get such a message, don't click on the link!  (More from PC Magazine last week.)

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/10/greed-vs-fear-the-eternal-battle-comes-to-twitter/247205/