Feeds

Twitter hits fan as scams smite banks, cabinet ministers

Harman gets hacked, Miliband's account peddles penis pills

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Twitter phishing attacks from earlier this week stepped up a gear on Friday with huge volumes of spam from compromised accounts, some of which belonged to UK cabinet minsters and even a bank.

Pwned micro-blogging accounts include high profile targets such as Ed Miliband MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. His account sent out links to a site selling knock-off male potency pills after Miliband (or more likely his research staff) fell victim to a phishing scam earlier this week, Sophos reports.

Perhaps even worse, telephone banking specialist First Direct (@first_direct) was also hit by the phishing attack, forcing it to make a series of apologies. "We were hacked last night - please disregard any inappropriate tweets that purport to come from us," First Direct admitted on Friday morning, adding that only its Twitter account was affected.

"Just to clarify - no password issues, it was a link in a DM. No customer / personal data has been compromised. Sorry for any offense caused," it later explained.

Victims were fooled into logging into a counterfeit site that requested Twitter login credentials after responding to a run of phishing lures that were widely distributed earlier this week. The lures often came in the form of direct messages with the lines such as "This You????" or "LOL this is funny".

The unwary were then confronted with Twitter's infamous fail whale when they handed over their login credentials to bogus sites, a tactic presumably designed to leave them none the wiser about the fact that their accounts have been commandeered by cybercrooks.

Other victims of the scam have included the Press Complaints Commission, BBC correspondent Nick Higham and the Guardian's head of audio Matt Wells, The Guardian sheepishly reports.

Web User adds that Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman was another victim.

Net security firm F-Secure reckons the timing of the phishing-to-Twitter-spam attack may have something to do with recent search engine deals.

"Yahoo announced that they'll begin to include Twitter's real-time feed into their search results and Facebook is now included in Google's search results," an F-Secure blod entry on the attacks explains.

"The bad guys can use social networking trust to enhance their SEO attacks."

Twitter is advising users to change their password. Victims would also be well advised to check whether they have been signed up to dodgy services via OAuth during the time their micro-blogging account was compromised. ®

Bootnote

A big thank you in 140 chars or less to Reg reader Paul Eagles for the heads up on the First Direct Twitter pwn. "Let's hope they are more secure with their banking systems than their twitter account," he writes.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.