Celebrity Twitter accounts, nearly 2,500 of these were compromised and tweets with links to adult websites were sent out as spam from them, reports security firm Symantec.
There were a number of high-profile accounts caught in the attack, including one belonging to the band Chromeo, an international journalist from The Telegraph, stand-up comedian Azeem Banatwala, Houston Texans wide receiver Cecil Shorts III, and the late New York Times reporter David Carr.
According to Symantec Research, the culprit would change the profile photo, biography, and full name of the account to promote adult sites. The attacker responsible for these earns $4 for each person who signs up for the adult dating site, adds the report.
Symantec also reports if a user visited “the compromised profile, they would see tweets that claim to offer free sign-ups to watch “hot shows” over webcam, or dates and sexual encounters.”
The cyber-security firm’s data also showed that 27 per cent of the compromised accounts were created in 2011, while many of the older accounts had been abandoned by owners, with no new tweets in the last couple of years.
Symantec has suggested some steps for securing Twitter. They are as follows:
1. Create a strong and unique password.
2. Use a password manager. Apps like LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass, Password Safe, Norton Identity Safe are all options.
3. Consider enabling Twitter’s Login Verification, which adds an extra layer of security and helps prevent unauthorised access.
4. Also users should report compromised accounts to Twitter. by selecting the gear icon on such a profile and clicking on Report. From there, select the option “Their account may be hacked” to proceed.