Twitter hackers break into Barack Obama's account
CONSERVATIVE political commentator Bill O'Reilly is gay and CNN personality Rick Sanchez
is high on drugs, if you are to believe their Twitter accounts."Breaking: Bill O Riley (sic) is gay," read a post on the official Fox News Twitter
account overnight, after several high-profile accounts were taken over by hackers.
US President-elect Barack Obama, Britney Spears
and The Huffington Post
were all hit by what Twitter described as "a very serious breach of security".
After breaking into Twitter's system, the hackers posted defamatory and offensive messages to the celebrity profiles.
"i am high on crack right now might not be coming into work today (sic)," read one such message posted to Sanchez's account.
Another on Mr Obama's account directed readers to a promotional website aimed at collecting user data including email addresses and personal information.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone
said the hackers had compromised the software that staff used to administer accounts.
"This morning we discovered 33 Twitter accounts
had been 'hacked' including prominent Twitter-ers like Rick Sanchez and Barack Obama," he said.
"These accounts were compromised by an individual who hacked into some of the tools our support team uses.
"We considered this a very serious breach of security and immediately took the support tools offline."
Twitter has increasingly become a target for hacking and phishing attempts as it grows in popularity.
A report last month found that about a fifth of all Twitter users had signed up in the previous 60 days and between 5000 and 10,000 new accounts were opened every day.
Dozens of Australians have fallen prey to a phishing scam that began last week, tricking users into handing over their username and password.
The scam involves directing users to a website that looks like Twitter but is in fact part of the trap.
After gaining access to an account, the scammers send a message to the user's followers trying to direct them to the trap website as well.
Some of the scam messages have pretended to offer free gadgets such as iPhones.
"hey. i won an iphone! come see how here (sic)," read one such message, with a link to a website called "helloiphones.com".
Twitter posted advice for users on how to avoid the scam and added a message to all pages, saying: "Warning! Don't sign in to fake Twitter.com from a DM."