As reported today in multiple places, but graphically so here, Twitter users are facing yet more problems.

The cause is either a security hole within Twitter that someone has found and is exploting, albeit with poor spelling and a fairly atrocious sense of humour, or it has come from the latest wave of both phishing attacks and the gap in Twitter’s API that forces developers of Twitter apps to force users to add their log in details to third party sites, rather than use a different mechanism, such as a key, to enable Twitter users to log in to third party tools.

Other apps have similar problems which expose user log-in details to third party developers, the majority of whom we must say are honest and have no intention of misusing the information they have been given for any purpose other than to enable their app to do its job properly.

However, as we enter 2009, the security risks faced by users of websites and apps are only going to increase, and already we are seeing the problems this can cause. Whilst posting Tweets may seem fairly innocuous, however badly they are spelt or whatever they say,  the results that this can have as a mechanism for extracting personal information out of internet users could cause major headaches for many during the coming year.

And the lesson to be learnt is that all of us must not leap onto the bandwagon of the latest ‘must have’ app, thereby leaving ourselves open to potential security risks. Whatever software or web-based app or website you visit this year, check it out first. Look for reviews online and make sure you are not opening yourself to a security vulnerability, or even spam (which we all know can be time-consuming at the best of times).

Check out the basic credentials of a site – company name, physical address, privacy policy – before signing up for anything. You would do this in real life, so do it online.

And make sure your marketing strategy isn’t brought tumbling down by some bad PR, which Twitter undoubtedly are going to face in the coming days for this latest problem.

Let’s be safe out there!

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