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BT and F1 legend punt miracle diet in Twitter hijack

The return of the Acai Berry scam

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BT Business and former F1 driver Nigel Mansell both fell victim to a Twitter hijack punting a well-known diet pill spam scam.

Followers of both @btbusiness and @Mansell5 were on Friday both directed towards a weight loss site, featuring an advertorial on the supposed miracle Acai Berry diet at newzonlines(dot)com. BT Business quickly regained control of its account and apologised. The offending message remained live on the Mansell account for some time, seemingly unnoticed by the former F1 world champion until the weekend. It disappeared over the weekend. Mansell tweeted on Sunday night: "I'm thinking its time to choose a new password!"

A screenshot of the offending messages, which said "Are you serious about weight loss? Read this article ASAP!" can be found here.

The Acai Berry spam attack has been seen before and previously linked to last year's Gawker password hack. Last December accounts where users happened to use the same password on both Twitter and Gawker were hijacked to post messages promoting the scam, as explained in a blog post by Sophos here.

It's unlikely that either BT Business or (more especially) Mansell maintained Gawker accounts. The account compromise probably occurred as a result of a phishing attack or some form of password security lapse. Even though no harm was done, a giant telecoms firm such as BT ought to be a bit more savvy about this type of thing. ®

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