New phishing campaigns have been identified as leveraging the confusion around Twitter's verification process. The campaigns have been used to bait users into revealing credentials.
Twitter’s method to verify the authenticity of accounts they deem “of public Interest” is to publicly display a blue tick against the username. The Social Media giant emphasise that these accounts must be “authentic, notable and active”.
A tweet on October 30, from Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, read: "The whole [Twitter] verification process is being revamped right now". This led to the media revealing that Twitter are considering introducing a $20 fee for users to verify their account.
Speculation is that the change stems from the issue of bot accounts on the site.
During the recent sale of Twitter, the unknown number of bot accounts on the site was a prominent talking point.
Currently there is no fee to become verified, making it easier for bot accounts to seem credible by becoming verified. Implementing a verification fee would help deter users looking to deploy numerous bot accounts or add credibility to their existing bots.
However, the potential change has sparked a number of new phishing campaigns. Less than 24 hours after the first report, phishing attempts taking advantage of the situation were reported.
Threat actors have been observed leaning on a sense of urgency to maintain a verified status or fear of losing a verified status to drive the momentum of these phishing campaigns.
The phishing campaigns have been using Gmail accounts and Google Docs to send lure emails and host pages masquerading as the official Twitter help centre. Google have taken down multiple entities in response.
As these verification changes are ongoing, it’s believed that a rise in associated phishing campaigns is highly likely until the changes have been clarified.
As this threat is specific to the owner of each verified Twitter account, please consider dissemination of this article to the manager of your organisations’ social media accounts.
At the time of writing, no change to Twitter's operating model has been confirmed and any suggestion of a deadline to maintain verified status or upgrade to a verified status is speculation.
Similarly, suggestions that the verified status of an account will be lost if an action is not taken hasn’t been confirmed by Twitter.
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).