Several high-profile Twitter accounts got hacked last night to start posting links to services that are supposed to help users get free followers.
The hacked accounts included @PlayStation, Microsoft’s @XboxSupport, @Viacom, @ICRC (owned by the Red Cross), @Money and others, and all tweeted ads to websites whose purpose is to increase the number of followers for other accounts.
The hack didn’t target the aforementioned accounts themselves, but Twitter Counter, a service that provides statistics of Twitter usage and monitors tweets reach and clicks. Hackers thus obtained access to linked Twitter accounts and managed to post messages on their behalf.
Twitter Counter confirmed in a tweet that the service experienced a breach, but reacted quickly to block the attack. Most tweets have already been removed, but engadget has managed to take a screenshot of one of them posted via the @PlayStation account.
“We can confirm that our service has been hacked; allowing posts on behalf of our users! We have launched an investigation into this matter,” the company said in the tweet. “As of now, the hackers CANNOT post on our users' behalf anymore. We will keep you posted on any other updates!”
A report from Digital Trends indicates that some other accounts were also targeted, including the one owned by US National Transportation Safety Board, Charlie Sheen, Lionel Messi, astronaut Leland Melvin, and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. Specifics on how many accounts were affected by the breach are not available right now, but the attack was specifically aimed at popular accounts.
At this point, the attack should no longer pose a threat to accounts, but if you’re also using Twitter Counter, it might be a good idea to change your password just to make sure you are on the safe side. Also, have a look at your timeline because there might be some posts published on your behalf, linking to services designed to obtain free followers.