Feeds

Twitter's veracity chewed up by Britney's four-foot vagina

Attack of the Tweats

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Micro-blogging site Twitter had to temporarily suspend accounts belonging to Barack Obama, Britney Spears and other celebrities after they were hijacked by miscreants and used to spread scandalous and false information that appeared to come from their owners.

The attack on 33 celebrity accounts caused Fox News to apparently admit that news commentator Bill O'Reilly was gay and prompted a confession from pop celeb Spears that her vagina was four feet wide "with razor sharp teeth." Twitter said in a blog post that the compromises were the result of an individual who "hacked into some of the tools our support team uses to help people do things like edit the email address associated with their Twitter account when they can't remember or get stuck."

The accounts were temporarily suspended until their rightful owners could regain control of them.

A separate high-profile phishing campaign caused thousands of the site's users to receive phony messages designed to trick them into visiting sites that steal their login credentials. Miscreants used the compromised identities to spam additional Twitter users who followed the account holder.

It's the latest example of a social networking site being besieged by scammers. Over the past year, Facebook and MySpace have become havens for phishers and other scammers out to exploit the near-blind trust users place in these online hangouts.

To its credit, and unlike many of its peers, Twitter gives users the option of surfing the vast majority of the site with the use of the secure sockets layer protocol, a measure that makes it harder for scammers to trick their prey. So if you must peruse the site, be sure there's an https in front of the address, especially when logging in.

According to Twitter, the phishing scampaigns were unconnected to the impersonation of celebrities. While the goal of the former is to purloin login credentials, the aim of the latter appeared to be the embarrassment of the rich and famous. CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, for instance, was caught staying home from work because he was too high on crack.

The exception was the hijacked account of President-elect Barack Obama, which directed followers to visit a website that attempted to steal personal information. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Desperate VXers enslave FREEZERS in DDoS bot
Updated Spike malware targets Asia
Heatmiser digital thermostat users: For pity's sake, DON'T SWITCH ON the WI-FI
A stranger turns up YOUR heat with default password 1234
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.