The crime rate on Twitter shot up by 20 per cent last year, after a lull towards the end of 2009.
In the second half of 2010, crime on Twitter reached two per cent, against just 1.6 per cent in the first half of the year, research by Barracuda Labs found.
The crime rate was defined as the percentage of accounts created every month that were eventually suspended for malicious or suspicious activity, or otherwise misused.
The study looked at the activity of over 26 million Twitter accounts.
The rise in Twitter crime comes at a time when concerns about social media security are increasing.
“Attackers focus on where they can get the most eyeballs and profit, and today that means social networks and search engines,” said Dr Paul Judge, chief research officer at Barracuda Networks.
“As a community we often point to the need for user education as the missing component; however, the levels of social engineering involved in today's attacks suggest that we must continue to elevate our technological approaches.”
Judge said the research community needed to come up with some innovative defences, which industry should work to push out sooner rather than later.
Free profile security
In line with the research, Barracuda released a free Profile Protector designed to safeguard users from threats circulating on Facebook and Twitter.
The application analyses user-generated content posted to profiles and can block or remove malicious or suspicious content, such as bad links posted on Facebook and Twitter pages and news feeds.