Twitter bans net security expert

An internet security expert has had his Twitter account suspended for warning his followers about a phishing scam.

Twitter bans net security expert

F-Secure’s chief research officer, Miko Hypponen, sent out a tweet at the beginning of August, advising users to steer clear of a particular site. “I guess somebody will fall for it… a desperate Myspace phishing site at www. rnyspece. com. (don’t go there),” the message read.

More than two months later, Hypponen logged in to find that his Twitter account had been suspended. When the F-Secure expert asked Twitter to explain why his account had been disabled, the company told him: “You were suspended for using the malware URL rnyspeceDOTcom in DMs. Be careful! We scan evrythng [sic] for malware.”

Banning me for that? Two months afterwards? This sure makes no sense to me

Hypponen – who claims to have helped Twitter with security issues in the past – has now had his account restored.

The suspension raises serious questions over Twitter’s security procedures. Even if the desire to stop users linking to phishing sites is understandable, the fact that it took two months for the account to be banned is worrying, given that phishing sites are often put up and closed down again within a matter of hours.

It also suggests that Twitter is using an automated system to ban users who it deems to be posting inappropriate content. That means anyone who retweeted Hypponen’s message would also likely face a ban, and might not find it so easy to have their account re-enabled.

Hypponen was unimpressed. “Banning me for that? Two months afterwards? This sure makes no sense to me,” the security expert writes on the F-Secure blog.

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