Twitter is one of the most popular social networks, but like any other app, it can’t guarantee your security. Maybe you’re wondering, Can I get a virus from Twitter?
Spoiler alert: Yes, but you’ll be surprised how!
By following our recommended security practices and tips, you can easily stay safe on the platform.
Let’s explore the main risks and how these may affect your devices.
Can I get a virus from Twitter?
Twitter is a potential target for malicious actors to spread malware through links, downloads, and phishing scams.
They can share them via links in Tweets, direct messages, and even dangerous ads that have bypassed advertiser security checks.
The Twitter app itself may be compromised due to poor security on your device. Moreover, fake versions of Twitter could trick you into sharing your login credentials.
How can I get infected?
Let’s take a closer look at all the different ways you can get infected on Twitter:
Anyone can post a link within a Tweet to a dangerous external website.
The platform’s built-in detection system usually flags these immediately. Still, nefarious actors are always changing their tactics.
Fortunately, there’s no way a Tweet itself can give you a virus. The risk occurs only when you click through to another website.
Bad links can also be shared in user profiles.
Cybercriminals can hack the accounts of influencers, celebs, or other prominent figures. They can then use their profiles to spread malicious links and execute online scams.
These accounts don’t even have to be legitimate! It’s quite easy to impersonate someone with a similar handle and an official-looking avatar.
Legitimate video tweets are safe and can’t infect your device. However, clever cybercriminals employ a very sneaky tactic!
They imitate the video player’s style in the form of a picture. Unsuspecting users click the image thinking it’s a video and get redirected to a malicious link instead.
If your DMs are open, any Twitter user can send you a message.
Again, a direct message itself will not cause harm. But you can be duped into clicking a link or another type of phishing scam.
Threats related to Twitter do not necessarily have to be delivered on the app.
It is very common for scammers to send out emails pretending to be Twitter support in a traditional email phishing tactic.
Verification scams involve someone pretending to be from Twitter insisting they can get you the coveted checkmark.
Thankfully, Elon Musk’s revamped verification process has limited their effectiveness.
Still, it’s not unheard of for criminals to target users with promises of getting special checkmarks.
Anyone can pay for Twitter Blue. Meanwhile, Grey is reserved for governments, political parties, media houses, and brands. Twitter Gold is limited to companies or organizations.
Anyone offering to get you these badges when you don’t fit the bill is a scammer.
Crypto scams can fall under any of the above categories. Given how common they are, they deserve special mention.
The most sophisticated ones involve many fake accounts or even celebrity and influencer endorsements.
Hundreds and thousands of Tweets can be generated, hyping the launch of a new coin, NFT, or platform. All that buzz gives the offer a sense of legitimacy.
Of course, the product always turns out to be overvalued or non-existent.
What are the potential threats?
Here are some of the most widespread threats that can target you on Twitter:
Once a virus infects your device, it could:
- Steal sensitive information
- Alter or delete vital files
- Spread to other connected devices and users.
Some can even cause more serious damage, such as rendering a device unusable or corrupting important data.
A particularly damaging type of malware is ransomware. It can encrypt your device and demand payment, typically in cryptocurrency, in exchange for unlocking.
The attacker may threaten to delete the encrypted files if the ransom is not paid within a certain time frame.
Phishing sites are the fake websites you’re typically directed to when clicking a misleading link.
Depending on the scam, you may be asked to enter sensitive information, such as your Twitter login credentials. The attacker will then use these to compromise your account or device.
Fraud and identity theft
Finally, your Twitter account can be used against you for serious fraud and identity theft.
Once a cybercriminal has enough personal data, they could compromise other accounts, steal banking information, and cause financial loss. They may also cause reputational damage by hijacking your profile.
How to stay safe?
Fortunately, with some common sense, you can reduce the risk of Twitter viruses and other attacks. Simply follow these security steps:
Stick to the app
Staying on the Twitter app associated with your mobile device is more secure than using desktop Twitter. This is because you’re less likely to land on a fake version of the site.
Limit your DMs
By limiting your direct messages to only the users you follow, you’ll minimize spam and phishing attempts.
Go to Settings > Settings and privacy > Privacy and safety. Then, under the Direct Messages option, uncheck Allow message requests from everyone.
There is also a check to Filter low-quality messages, which is Twitter’s in-built spam filter.
You can’t get a virus if you don’t click a link. Of course, this might not always be practical.
However, if the URL of a link looks suspicious, you should steer clear of it.
You can also use a URL checker service. Once you copy the link, the checker will visit the website on your behalf to see if it is legit.
Use an antivirus
The WebShield feature can also stop untrustworthy websites from loading.
Turn on 2FA
Two-Factor Authentication sends you a one-time code to enter every time you log in. Hackers will not receive this code, thus protecting your account even if your password has been exposed.
Find this under Settings > Security and account access > Security.
Only trust official verification
Nobody from Twitter can give you a special checkmark. If you get a message promising otherwise, immediately treat it with suspicion.
You can find the official link to a checkmark in your account settings.
So, if you’ve been wondering, Can I get a virus from Twitter? now you got your answer!
It’s certainly possible if you don’t keep an eye on the links you click or don’t take basic security precautions. However, by being aware of the threats and using real-time antivirus software, you can avert all risks.
Let us know which tips worked out for you below, and stay safe!