Twitter is nolonger safe: Obama’s, Britney’s account hijacked

By Partho, Gaea News Network
Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hackers have penetrated popular social messaging utility Twitter hijacking the accounts of more than 30 celebrities that include President-elect Barack Obama, Britney Spears and CNN correspondent Rick Sanchez. This was confirmed by the company early on Today.

The shocking announcement for Twitter-ers was made by its co-founder Biz Stone in a company’s blog post this morning. It divulged that more than 33 accounts have been hacked including those of prominent celebrities and networks like Fox News among others.

These hacked accounts carried malicious messages, a number of them were offensive. Like one of the messages on Fox News twitters read “Breaking: Bill O Riley [sic] is gay,”. Bill O Riley is the host of a conservative talk show by the network. While Rick Sanchez’s account had a message reading “i am high on crack right now might not be coming to work today”

The accounts were locked down as soon as the news of sabotage was received, followed by an investigation into the matter.  Now, Barack Obama and Rick Sanchez have been restored control over their accounts.
Twitter’s investigations exposed that the accounts were hijacked after acquiring control over the company’s own internal support tools. According to stone, the hacker made use of some of the tools used by the Twitter support team to help the people do things like edit the e-mail address associated with their account when they can’t remember or get stuck.

This was a serious security breach following the phishing campaign launched by the identity hackers on Saturday. The phishers attacked the micro-blogging service and tried to dupe users into exposing their account user name and password.

A day after, the hackers were up with a new trick using messsages about Apple’s iPhone as scam bait. A number of Twitter-ers were trapped into the first scam.

The second part of it involved spams with lucrative iPhone related message that read “hey. i won an iphone! come see how here” or ” Wanna win the new iPhone? It’s so easy and cool, I love this thing!”. It was provided with a link that opened in a website which apart from other details asked for user’s cell phone number. Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos PLC suspects that this could have been a part of a affiliate scheme used for making money. They either convince people for expensive text message plans or may take revenge from the ads on the Twitter’s sites where users switch to.

Twitter confirmed that the hijacking of prominent users accounts was noway linked to the phishing campaign or the spams that followed.

With incidence of security breach gaining frequency in Twitter systems, users at the receiving end are getting more concerned over the beguilement of their account details by hackers.

will not be displayed