Twitter has taken down a rogue application which was spamming user feeds with an 'unfollow me' application.
The rogue app aimed to draw in users with the promise of a list of people who had recently chosen to stop following the user's Twitter feed.
Clicking the link led to a prompt to allow or deny the application access to the user's feeds.
However, the app accesses the user's feed anyway, and reposted the spam message. Meanwhile, the user is sent to a survey site which generates money for the application's creator.
Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley explained that the attack uses a common social engineering trick.
"You're anxious to find out who has unfollowed you on Twitter," he said in a blog post. "The scammers take advantage of that by presenting a web page which looks as if it's about to reveal that information, but is actually designed to make you take an online survey instead."
Del Harvey, head of trust and safety at Twitter, reported that the application and others had been taken down by late afternoon UK time. Other similar applications, however, are almost certain to follow.
Trend Micro senior threat researcher Paul Ferguson told V3.co.uk that, with a constant stream of user generated content and URL-shortening services, social sites such as Twitter can make such scams highly successful.
"My advice for any user is to always be sceptical," he said. "People have to understand and know who they are following."
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