Social network's are a breeding ground for spam, malware and malicious content, and micro-blogging service Twitter is no exception. Users are at risk from people they follow sending out spam as well as other Twitter users that issue direct messages that could contain links to sites that will infect a PC with malware or attempt to obtain log-in details to everything from your online banking account to your Facebook profile.

However, security firm BitDefender has unveiled a free beta version of its Safego software designed specifically for Twitter. The software will scan the accounts you follow and give them one of four colour ratings based on their threat levels. Furthermore, it'll also scan new users before you begin following them and identify whether any direct messages you have received contain malicious links. Here's how to use the software.

Step one
Visit BitDefer's dedicated Safego site for Twitter and click the Activate protection now button. If you don't want to automatically follow BitDefender on Twitter, move the slider to the right-hand side of the button.

Step two
Now you'll be asked to give the app authorisation to access your Twitter feed. If you're already signed-in, simply press the Authorize app button. Alternatively, if you're not logged-in to Twitter, you'll be required to enter your username or email you signed up with and your password, then press Authorize app. If you don't authorise the app and press No, thanks instead you'll be unable to use the Safego service.

Step three
Now the app will scan your Twitter contacts. Once complete, any 'safe' friends will be displayed. You can see any that are suspicious by clicking the icon featuring a person and a question mark on the far left-hand side. You can also check to see if any of your direct messages are suspicious by pressing the envelope icon in the same place.

Step four
If you want to check a user before you follow them, simply enter their username into the New user check-up box located at the top of the SafeGo dashboard and press Scan user. Once again, they'll be assigned a coloured label depicting whether they're safe or suspicious.