You know when something new in the tech world has become mainstream is when hackers begin targeting it. The twitterrecent Twitter worm created by 17-year-old Michael “Mikeyy” Mooney helped put Twitter on the map – although not in a way that Twitter would have liked – and exposed a cross-site scripting vulnerability in the microblogging site.

The self-propagating worm struck Easter weekend infecting some Twitter profiles and making them send messages to their contacts to check out Mikeyy’s StalkDaily.com Twitter-like site. (Read an interview with Mikeyy at the NetNewsDaily site.)

Last year, Facebook was hit by the Koobface worm, twice. Like the Twitter worm, Koobface generated messages to friends of infected users on the social networking site. The messages enticed readers to click on a site to watch a video but only after downloading the latest copy of Adobe Flash – yes, you can guess what happens next.

The Facebook and Twitter worms bring home the message that users need to be vigilant when clicking on links in emails, instant messages, Tweets, and so on, even if they appear to be sent by friends or respected brands.

The popularity of Twitter is also giving a boost to URL shortening services, such as the grandaddy TinyURL and the new kids on the block Bit.ly and TweaK. Since Twitter only allows users to update in no more than 140 characters, users are turning to URL shortening services when they want to include long URLs in their updates. But Mikeyy has shown that even updates apparently coming from your friends may not be kosher.

Some URL shortening services enable users to preview links before they click. TechRepublic has posted a useful guide detailing which services offer this feature and how they work.

We believe that you shouldn’t block social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as they can be beneficial to business, but you can teach your users how to practice safe social networking.

Facebook has details about how to deal with Koobface at its Facebook Security page, and Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder wrote about Mikeyy’s worm in his blog. Security researchers are advising people to disable JavaScript on their browsers to help protect against the Twitter worm. Here are some more security recommendations from Douglas Haider, a Computerworld columnist.

And you know that you can always use Scrutinizer to monitor network traffic to these social networking sites.

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Jake

Jake Bergeron is currently one of Plixer's Sr. Solutions Engineers - He is currently responsible for providing customers with onsite training and configurations to make sure that Scrutinizer is setup to their need. Previously he was responsible for teaching Plixer's Advanced NetFlow Training / Malware Response Training. When he's not learning more about NetFlow and Malware detection he also enjoys Fishing and Hiking.

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