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British Gas Twitter account hijacked by mystery phishermen

Login cred-stealing scammers get in, mayhem ensues

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

An official British Gas Twitter account was hacked over the weekend as part of a phishing scam designed to harvest Twitter login credentials.

The account @BritishGasHelp, which is normally geared towards helping people with boiler breakdowns and other queries, was taken over to push a series of ostensibly jokey tweets.

The messages featuring text such as "lamo u got 2 see this, its awesome" contained links that posed as a Twitter login page. In reality, surfers were being led towards a phishing site designed to steal Twitter userIDs and password for subsequent misuse.

Victims would have found their Twitter accounts hijacked by spammers and scammers – just like the British Gas Help profile was.

Fortunately British Gas quickly recovered control of the compromised account, deleting the dodgy update and issuing a warning about the scam.

A blog post by veteran security watcher Graham Cluley features screenshots of the dodgy updates before they were expunged.

@BritishGasHelp is a verified account – but that little blue tick only guards against impostors without safeguarding against account takeovers or other forms of hacking.

The incident illustrates the utility of using two factor authentication to reduce the risk of Twitter profiles being hijacked. Such hijackings are all too common and the range of motives can range from political (account hijacks against media organisations by the Syrian Electronic Army) and profit driven (a hack against the Twitter profile of former Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan to push dodgy weight-loss pills) to pure devilment. ®

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