DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – One day after hackers attacked a Burger King account, they set their sites on a Detroit automaker.
Jeep’s Twitter (@Jeep) background was changed to promote Cadillac and several tweets were sent out, some of them obscene.
One message stated that the brand had been sold to General Motor’s luxury division. The account description was edited to read, “The official Twitter Handle for the Jeep – Just Empty Every Pocket.”
Cadillac (@Cadillac) was quick to deny any connection to the incident, tweeting on its own account: “Just to clarify, Cadillac is not connected to the hack of the @Jeep Twitter account.”
Talking to WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert, a Chrysler spokesman said they’re aware of the situation. He said the Twitter account is run by an agency that is working on restoring control.
CBS Tech correspondent Larry Magid said attacks on corporations are becoming more common.
“Bottom line is that this is part of doing business in the 21st century. It’s a risk, and it’s one that companies like Jeep have to protect themselves against.”
Magid says protection can be as simple as making passwords more secure. He said it’s hard to tell if Jeep was attacked by the same people who hacked Burger King, that there are a lot of hackers eager to disrupt any company’s social media presence.
“By disrupting an American company they are making some kind of a point,” he said. “It may simply be that they don’t like this company. They may be trying to embarrass this company. It’s hard to know.”
This comes after, Monday afternoon, someone tweeted via Burger King’s account, “We just got sold to McDonalds!” They also changed the icon to rival McDonald Corp.’s golden arches and the account’s background picture to McDonald’s new Fish McBites.
About 55 tweets and retweets followed over the next hour and a quarter, including some that contained racial epithets, references to drug use and obscenities. The account tweeted: “if I catch you at a wendys, we’re fightin!”
Monday’s appropriation of Burger King’s Twitter account was a relatively mild example of cybersecurity problems, which are causing increasing concern in Washington and for industry. Media outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have all said this year that their computer systems were breached, while several NBC websites were briefly hacked in November. White House officials and some lawmakers are pursuing legislation that would make it easier for the government and industry to share information on how to defend against hacking.
Burger King didn’t know who hacked the account, and no other social media accounts were affected, said Bryson Thornton, a spokesman for Miami-based Burger King Worldwide Inc. Its social media team and an outside agency manage the Twitter account, but Thornton declined to say how many people knew the account’s password. Late Monday, Thornton issued an apology to the company’s Twitter followers.
“Earlier today, our official BK Twitter Account was compromised by unauthorized users,” Thornton said in a statement. “Upon learning of this incident, our social media teams immediately began working with Twitter security administrators to suspend the compromised account until we could re-establish our brand’s official Twitter page. We apologize to our loyal fans and followers, whom might have received unauthorized tweets from our account. We are pleased to announce that the account is now active again.”
Twitter acknowledged on Feb. 1 that cyber attackers may have stolen user names and passwords of 250,000 users. It said at the time that it notified users of the breach.
There was no immediate word on if the Jeep and Burger King hacks are connected — but Monday’s prank seemed to have helped the fast food chain the the long run. Burger King has added about 30,000 new Twitter followers because of all the publicity.
Burger King tweeted: “Interesting day here at BURGER KING, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!”
Competitors were sympathetic.
McDonald’s responded on Twitter that it empathized with its Burger King counterparts. “Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking.”
“My real life nightmare is playing out” on Burger King’s twitter feed, wrote Wendy’s social media worker Amy Rose Brown.
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