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Barrucada: Twitter Makes Its Red Carpet Debut For Celebrities And Criminals

March 2010 by Barrucada

Barracuda Networks Inc. released its Barracuda Labs 2009 Annual Report, revealing data from three areas: Twitter trends and tracking, Web threats and trends, and email spam and viruses.

The report drills down into 2009’s fastest growing social networking application Twitter, and reviews growth drivers, usage trends and the overall Twitter crime rate. Barracuda Labs analyzed more than 19 million Twitter accounts, both legitimate and malicious, for frequency and content of tweets, user-to-user interactions, and each account’s overall activity level.

Key highlights from Twitter’s Red Carpet Era – Celebrities and Criminals include:

Only 21 percent of Twitter users are actual True Twitter Users.
Overall, users are becoming more active on Twitter.
49 percent of Twitter users, and 48 of the top 100 most followed Twitter users, joined during the Twitter Red Carpet Era[2], indicating the significant impact celebrities have on the social networking landscape as they bring their real-world fans over to Twitter.

The Twitter growth rate spiked at 21.17 percent in April 2009 due to the Twitter Red Carpet Era.

During the Twitter Red Carpet Era, the Twitter Crime Rate[3] increased 66 percent, and continued to escalate reaching 12 percent in October 2009, indicating one in eight accounts created was deemed to be malicious, suspicious or otherwise misused and subsequently suspended.

“In this report, we highlight some of the shifts in user behavior and the resulting attacker trends across messaging and Web,” said Dr. Paul Judge, chief research officer at Barracuda Networks. “As social networking, and specifically Twitter, becomes more ingrained in everyday business, it is crucial to understand the nature of attacks happening on these sites, as well as how users and networks can be compromised.”

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