Twitter Risks

Twitter is probably the most unique of the web 2.0 sites. People either ‘get it’ or they don’t. Sites like facebook are understood by everyone regardless of whether they use it or not.

So, should twitter be treated the same as other social networking websites? I mean, a lot of companies don’t allow their staff to use twitter. Their whole risk assessment is based upon issues such as information leaking out of the company, 140 characters at a time. But that’s just lazy risk assessment. The real dangers of Twitter are far beyond that. Using the world renowned Infosec Cynic methodology © here are some of the threats posed by Twitter.

1. Faking Sick

Ask any HR droid and the one thing that vexes them the most are slacker employee’s faking sick days and wasting valuable company time and money. Here’s how the employee normally pulls it off,

Let’s say they are going to go out on a Thursday and will be in no condition to work on Friday. It starts out with a few Tweets Thursday morning about how excited they are for the Thursday night event. At 5:00pm they Tweet that they aren’t feeling so hot. At 9:00pm when they are getting ready to head out, they Tweet that they just puked. There is usually no more Tweeting for the next 12 hours and when they call in sick the next morning, the sympathetic boss will say that they caught the Tweets and wish the employee better.

I don’t have the calculations, but I believe one can easily make the case that this results in 3 million lost days of productivity a year.

2. Stalking

Stalking isn’t a nice thing, in certain parts of the world it’s even illegal. But a tool like Twitter is a stalkers dream come true.

It’s easy to stalk when you have half a million people to report where that certain special someone is every minute of the day. Just search Twitter for #lindsaylohan or #BradPitt and you’ll see Tweets telling you the most recent sightings. Now, see how many people race to that location! Twits are prepared to fight other Twits who are doing the same thing. Anyone with an iPhone and a sweaty brow usually gets a quick punch in the back of the neck. Although they have to be careful that the Tweet wasn’t a fake to get people to show up at some bar where lonely Tweeters hang out.

Do we really need a celebrity to die under a wave of rampaging Tweeters before you realise the dangers within?

3. Tricking people into going to a particular place

OK, so in the big scheme of things, tricking people isn’t a big crime. But it’s morally wrong all the same.

What do lonely people do? They just Tweet “What is (name of famous person) doing at (the place they are at)?” When people come racing into the place, they rush up and tell them that Person X just went to the bathroom and strike up a conversation. At some point you they have to suggest that Person X might have snuck out the back door, but at least they could discuss stalking them over dinner.

You see the trends that develop here? You have someone who is happy to trick people, ending up meeting a professional stalker. Next they’ll be plotting to kidnap celebrities for ransom.

4. Getting good seats at a posh restaurant

Step 1: pick a extremely busy/famous restaurant

Step 2: Tweet about seeing rats and/or maggots at said restaurant

Step 3: Call in and wait for a cancellation

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some twittering to tend to.

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