GMA News Online

Spammers hack UK health agency's Twitter account

October 18, 2011 2:06pm
Spammers promoting a berry diet have hacked into the United Kingdom's National Health Service Twitter account, pestering visitors with a come-on to "lose weight."

At least one message on the NHS Twitter account remained online as of 1 p.m. Manila time, leaving a link that promoted an Acai Berry diet.

"Are you wanting to lose some weight? i highly suggest this [link]," read the tweet.

Twitter would block the site referred to in the link, saying it "has been flagged as potentially harmful."

Ignoring the warning will bring the user to the website promoting the so-called diet.

Several netizens had replied to the tweet, saying they believe the Twitter account was indeed hacked.

Computer security firm Sophos said the spam message may fool some followers into thinking the link is genuine.

"The sneaky marketroids trying to sell their diet pills present their webpage as though it were an online news report," it said in a blog post.

It also said the diet website appears to be remarkably similar to the Acai Berry website linked to in another recent attack - where a BBC Rugby correspondent mysteriously started tweeting messages about needing to lose a few pounds.

"What's not clear is just how the @NHSDirect Twitter account was hacked. It could be that the password was compromised, similar to another Acai Berry spam campaign we saw on Twitter at the end of last year following the Gawker password breach," it added.

Sophos speculated NHS Direct's Twitter account may have been phished. — TJD, GMA News
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