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Spammers joyride Doctor Who's Twitter TARDIS, turn man into Shirley Temple

Won't someone please think of the children poor celebs?

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Yet another Doctor Who star's Twitter account has been hijacked to tout dodgy diet pills: this time it's Colin Baker, who played the sixth incarnation of the hero time lord.

Baker's @SawbonesHex account was taken for a joyride just a fortnight after the Twitter feed of actress Karen Gillan, who played Doctor Who companion Amy Pond, was hacked to punt the same acai berry spam*.

The former curly-haired Doctor managed to seize control of his account hours after the rogue tweets appeared in the early hours of Sunday. He apologised to his 32,000 followers for the snafu, which resulted in the distribution of spam messages promoting a pill-flogging site.

"I've finally worked out how to reset my password so you shouldn't be inundated with weight loss garbage on Twitter," the ex-star of the long-running hit BBC sci-fi saga said.

It's unclear how the hack was pulled off. Christopher Boyd, a senior threat researcher at GFI Software, was among the first to spot all was not well with the @SawbonesHex feed. Twit feed compromises can happened to anyone, not just celebs, but there are a number of sensible precautions that might be taken to guard against attack.

"It’s not that long ago since Karen Gillen had her Twitter feed compromised, and in fact the scam appears to be almost identical," Boyd explained.

"Be wary of app installs, and do be careful whenever you’re asked for login details (at least one Doctor Who fan has mentioned being sent to the same sort of ads via rogue DMs). If you’re unsure, physically type the Twitter.com URL into your browser to be on the safe side."

A blog post by Boyd featuring screenshots of the dodgy updates can be found here. The Reg security desk isn't sure who is behind the apparent spate of attacks against the TARDIS-riding actors but reckons the Adipose can safely be ruled out as potential suspects.

In related hijacking news, a US man claims his Twitter account was hijacked, renamed and turned into a feed purporting to belong to Hollywood actresses Shirley Temple for a week. Once the account had gained 10,000 followers, the feed was suddenly used to offer love-making enhancement pills and work-from-home scams.

Michael Wellington has now regained control of his account @mjwellington6, which still has more than 8,000 followers. He can thank various celebrities, including Toy Story 3 Director Lee Unkrich for believing the @TempleShirleyJ profile was genuine and endorsing it to tens of thousands of fans.

Boyd has more on the frankly weird tale here. ®

Bootnote

* Pills derived from acai berries supposedly allow people to shed weight without dieting or exercise, a claim rubbished by health experts.

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