Security researchers have uncovered a scam targeting Twitter users that makes use of the Goo.gl link-shortening service to hide the address of the attack site.
Criminals are believed to be using compromised Twitter accounts to post tweets advertising various pages linked through the goo.gl service.
Twitter users clicking on the links are directed through the link-shortening service to a third-party page which loads bogus security alerts and attempts to trick the user into downloading fake anti-virus software tools.
Twitter said in a statement that it is working on removing the malicious links and resetting passwords for the compromised accounts.
Fake anti-virus operations have long been a favoured tactic of attackers looking to infect users with malware or simply trick them into paying for ineffective software bundles.
Likewise, link-shortening services have come into fashion among scammers and malware operators in recent months as they offer a simple way to hide attack sites from direct links.
Adam Wosotowsky, principal researcher at security firm McAfee, suggested that the attack is most likely being run through machines infected by a social networking Trojan such as Koobface.
"The Goo.gl fake anti-virus attack is not new, and is fairly simple to execute," he said. "Shortened URL sites are not 100 per cent malicious, so blocking the domain completely can cause false positives, which is something researchers try to avoid."
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