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BP’s Twitter account hacked by pranksters, Sophos comments

May 2010 by Sophos

Sophos is again reminding Twitter users of the importance of good password management following news that BP’s official account was compromised yesterday.

An unauthorised posting on the BP America Twitter account read:

Terry is now in charge of operation Top Kill, work will recommence after we find a XXL wetsuit. #bpcares #oilspill

About 30 minutes later, the offending Tweet was removed.

BP, which has been hitting the headlines over the oil leak polluting the Gulf of Mexico, has faced further Twitter trouble with a fake Twitter account – @BPGlobalPR – the writer of which frequently refers to a character called Terry when posting satirical messages about the company.

“It’s a pretty embarrassing thing to happen to anyone, but this is not great timing for BP, which has quite enough to deal with on the PR front at the moment,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “With someone hacking into the genuine BP Twitter account, questions will be asked about how well they protect their passwords. As more and more companies turn to Twitter as a means of marketing – and crisis management - it’s critical that they take password security seriously.”

In the past, well known figures such as Lindsay Lohan, British politician Ed Miliband and Britney Spears, as well as organisations such as the New York Times have all had their Twitter accounts compromised by hackers.

Sophos advises Twitter users to always choose a hard-to-guess, non-dictionary word as their password and to use different passwords for all their online accounts.

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