It has emerged that a major hacking campaign has hit users of the ultra-popular micro-blogging site Twitter. 33 accounts where hacked including those belonging to US president-elect Barack Obama and singer Britney Spears. It stems from "phishing" scam on the site which contained a link a fake Twitter homepage which noted their passwords.
According to the BBC the fictional updates included a message from CNN broadcaster Rick Sanchez saying he would not be in work because he was high on crack, a link to an online survey promising free petrol from Barak Obama an obscene message from Britney Spears' account.
The scam appears to have been mere mischief with no financial risk but it will definitely shake users out of any complacency they may have had. It will however come as a blow to Twitter who are looking to monetarise their site at the start of 2009. Part of the problem they face is the the site's use of TinyUrls means users cannot see what site they are actually going to be visiting should they click on a link contained in a Twitter posting. This eliminates any judgement the user could make whilst screening where he/she may be going.
Although the celebrity accounts were high profile there will be many, many more users who will have unwittingly given their username and passwords away to the phishing site and may not know it meaning their is potentially a vast security problem waiting to be exploited.
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