Are sexy spammers stalking you on Twitter?

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley is Sophos' Senior Technology Consultant

Like seemingly everyone else who spends inordinate amounts of time in the Twittersphere, I'm always on the hunt for more followers.

I'm quite used to receiving messages telling me that a stranger is now following me on Twitter, and normally I presume they're doing it to keep up with the latest security news or the latest internet threat that we are analysing inside our labs.

However, occasionally my followers have no interest in information security, but lots of interest in naughtiness.

Take the case of my latest follower, for example. She has quite an unusual name, "Numbers Anacker", and stands out for never having posted a single tweet. Well, I guess she could be new on the site, and her profile photograph shows that she has a friendly face, with her handbag casually tossed across her shoulder, so why should I be so suspicious?

As the following YouTube video demonstrates, "Numbers Anacker" is not your typical Twitter user. In fact, she has no interest in the content I post on Twitter - what this is is an attempt to trick people into signing-up for a website that offers to find adults new sexual partners.

One of the things that's really cunning about this particular lure is that the sex partner website you are taken to pretends that the cute girl is in your area, by doing a GEO-IP look-up on your computer's rough location. In other words, if you click on the link from Bognor you'll be told the alluring woman is in Bognor, click from Paris she'll appear to be from Paris, and so on.

So, what's the lesson to be learnt here? Maybe you would be wise to check out the profiles of strangers who begin to follow you on Twitter. It's possible that they could be a spammer, or planning to commit some other kind of cybercrime.

Twitter makes it easy to report profiles for unusual behaviour - make the most of the feature to help make Twitter safer for yourself and your fellow Twitter users.

You can follow me on Twitter at @gcluley, but watch out if you're a cybercriminal - I eat spammers for breakfast.