Yesterday I fell prey to the dreaded Twitter phishing scam. All my contacts receiving a direct message: "haha. This is you??? [clickableURL]" Now my inbox overfloweth with "Let's catch up!" emails. Who knew spambots could make a girl so popular?
Moments earlier, I had received the same "haha. This is you???" message from a distant friend. I clicked through to what I assumed would be a photo. But first I had to sign into Twitter, which required entering username and password, which I did, only to find myself staring suddenly at a blank white page. A moment later, all my friends received the exact same invitation from me, and a certain portion of them entered their usernames and passwords, and the cycle repeated, spiraling into a million-part recursive fractal of internet dum-dums. We had all been had, our common sense blocked by the toxic cloud of narcissism that pervades even the most humble of minds when a tagged party picture is at stake.
The replies were instantaneous. "Long time no see. Did you try to send me a picture?" and "The link you sent me didn't work. What was it?" and "Maureen you dumbass you just got phished. Change your password. Also, how are you?"
My uncle in Iraq wrote to lament the limits of military bandwidth. A tech-savvy neighbor sent advice on cyber security. An old roommate's mother text messaged about Twitter etiquette, former co-workers struck up new correspondences, and a friend I hadn't heard from in months asked if I'd finally gotten my hands on pictures from such-and-such's party, and would I like to come to the next one?
One by one, I informed my new old friends that I had not been thinking of them, but jeopardizing their security. They were forgiving. Among the lessons I learned:
- 1. Phishing scams will never die, because it's not just grannies who click on them, but a whole new generation of gullible idiots, because tinyURLs make me so curious.
- 2. The biggest surprise: I actually like most of my Twitter friends. (Not counting celebrity follows. They never respond, anyway.) Unlike Facebook's tyranny of forced social reciprocation, Twitter follows tend to be limited to the people you actually find interesting. Being reminded to communicate with this group of people wasn't so bad.
Within the hour, new phishing iterations hit my inbox: "hhey, i've been having better sex and longer with this here [clickableURL]" and "hi, i'm 24/female/horny... i have to get off here but message me on my windows live messenger name [clickableURL]" Far less persuasive, but providing a social value of their own, I suppose.