Sunday, October 18, 2015

Bizarre abuse of shortened URL's on Twitter



I had a bizarre Twitter-life experience late Saturday night on an HP Envy (oh, why was I home?)  There was a tweet about the use of vintage subway cars on the IRT to the Mets game. It somehow mentioned the New York Daily News.  But when I clicked on a shortened URL link, I got redirected to a domain called “forexdollar-euro.com” or “shorte.st” with the description “Make short links and make the biggest money” with further links.  I could not get the proper Daily News story to appear. I was on Google Chrome.

I don’t think it takes much common sense to be suspicious of unsolicited ads having to do with currency exchange rates.

Twitter says it carefully monitors the short-link or tiny-url use on its site. It is hard to say whether there could have been a hack on Twitter or instead on the New York Daly News.
Something like this has happened with other adware on my cell phone when trying to look at the “At Bat” feature of a “game in progress” on mlb.com during the playoffs.  Adware comes up and won’t go away until closing Safari and then opening it again.

I restarted the machine, and ran a full Kaspersky scan (takes about 80 minutes) during overnight sleep.

The scan revealed one item of “adware” which I quarantined (I could not tell if it had come from this incident), and two unwanted programs or “bloatware” not considered malware but possible targets for hacking, which I also quarantined.

I sent tweets to both Kaspersky and Webroot and asked them to check with Twitter and NYDN about the incident.

There is a revealing story in the New York Times Sunday by Nicole Perlrouth, “Hackers prove they can ‘pwn’ the lives of those not hyperconnected”, here. There was an example of a simple use of phishing and Facebook.


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