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Faded celebs' Twitter feeds degrade to sad, lonely smut storms

Crims make four bucks a click if you still care about Cecil Shorts III or weekend newsreaders

By Darren Pauli, 26 May 2016

Symantec boffin Satnam Narang says some 2500 Twitter accounts, including those of journalists and other notables, have been compromised and used to sling pornography and links for dating sites.

The accounts include those of a Telegraph journalist, a CNN correspondent, the National Post editor-in-chief, WKYT weekend anchor, CNBC television show OptionAction.

Comedian Azeem Banatwala, musicians Chromeo and XO Stereo, and athlete Cecil Shorts III have also been compromised.

Attackers changed the Twitter account pictures and biographies to material plugging the sexual services sites.

"It’s likely that the attackers earned money by redirecting users to these sites through affiliate programs," Narang says.

"Rather than tweeting or direct-messaging users, the attackers used these compromised accounts to like tweets and follow other users, hoping to capitalise on users being curious enough to investigate their Twitter profiles."

Narang estimates the scammers would earn a healthy US$4 for each user who clicks shortened URLs embedded into the compromised profiles and signs up for an account on the adult sites.

Most of the hacked accounts were registered in 2011 and 2012, with some since all-but-abandoned by their owners. ®

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