My Twitter and Facebook Accounts Hacked

August 16, 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz
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Last week I was going to make a tweet, but when i logged into Twitter I saw a message that said my account had been suspended. Due to the nature of Twitter already being a spammers paradise and backed with the knowledge that I don’t spam my followers, I immediately knew that my account had been compromised.

While my account had been suspended and frozen, I could still see my most recent tweet. It was obviously not from me and the person (or bot, more likely) had linked to a spammy affiliate site with some get-rich-quick scheme.

I don’t know how many tweets were sent out from my account, but I think it was actually only the one. There could have been more and Twitter removed them, but I’m guessing it was just the one and then Twitter detected that URL as being a spam link and froze my account.

I contacted Twitter explaining to them the situation, thinking I only had a small chance of getting my account restored since I had contacted Twitter numerous times nearly a year ago trying to get the tylercruz name from an obvious squatter (http://twitter.com/tylercruz) to no luck.

But any small chance I thought I had was crushed when Twitter went down from a DDoS attack a few days later. Just my luck.

However, to my surprise, Twitter did respond about 10 days or so after my initial query and confirmed that it looked like my account had been compromised and restored my account!

2

So, thanks Twitter! I’m usually pretty pessimistic when it comes to customer support from large social media sites due to the sheer amount of issues they need to deal with, so it was a bit of a surprise.

I’ve had a lot of back luck with my accounts on social media sites. My YouTube account was banned about 2 years ago after a spammer got into it. That really sucked as all my videos were deleted and I didn’t have copies of a lot of them, and all of them were linked and embedded on my blog so I had to re-upload all the ones I did have saved on my computer.

YouTube never replied to any of my queries… which really sucked as it was obvious my account was compromised (I had rarely commented on videos before and only posted normal videos, then out of nowhere my account starts commenting on people’s videos with some insanely crazy spam). They could have compared my history, compared IP’s, etc.

I will admit though that I almost deserved getting my YouTube account hacked. I had chosen an easy-to-guess password so I had it coming.

YouTube, Twitter, now Facebook!?

And then last night I received an e-mail notification from Facebook notifying me that I received a message from a high-school acquaintance who I never talk to. The message read:

Subject: Google Money

Message: Any Porn Involved :P
Just kiddin… you sent me a dead link…… but if I take til off the end of com… I get to hear kevin tell me about how he has a nice car now .. lol…
What are you doing these days… probably got your own big computer company eh :D

I stared at that for probably 5-minutes, scratching my head. It was really weird because it looked like he mistakenly sent me the message, but then there were too many associations to me.

For example, Kevin is the name of my accountant, and I had just e-mailed him the night before about how my affiliate marketing campaigns were going (he’s interested). So, I thought maybe Kevin knows my friend somehow and told my friend what I was up to… but then that didn’t explain why he said he gets to hear about how Kevin has a nice car…

After more thought, I realized that he was probably referring to one of those spammy get-rich-quick landing pages where a guy is on video in front of his mansion and cars explaining just how easy it is to make money. The title really helped me deduce that. But it was still a very confusing message.

When I went to the Wall of my friend, I saw that I had apparently left a message there. A very bad spammy one telling him to go to a link to show how I make $50 a day using some method.

Sigh.

That really bugged me because I don’t want people thinking I’m whoring myself on their Facebook walls trying to spam them. I went through my other friends and contacts and saw that the spammer had done this on half a dozen others as well, so I had to remove the messages and explain that it wasn’t me.

Fortunately, I hate Facebook and almost never use it. I only have an account there so I can view other people’s photos, etc. when they send me a link, so it could have been much worse if I actually used Facebook and had everybody I know listed as a friend.

The strange thing is, the hacker/spammer/bot didn’t change my password… I found that really odd. Even if it was a bot, you’d still think it would have changed my password and e-mail to lock me out and erasing their spam.

So, I have obviously changed both my Facebook and Twitter passwords now, but am not certain how they were compromised in the first place.

Twitter suggested that it could be the Koobface worm:

“Koobface, an anagram of Facebook ("face" and "book" change order and "koob" is "book" in reverse), is a computer worm that targets the users of the social networking websites Facebook, MySpace, hi5, Bebo, Friendster and Twitter. Koobface ultimately attempts, upon successful infection, to gather sensitive information from the victims such as credit card numbers.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Which it may have well been. I’m usually very careful about avoiding virii, but the article goes on to say:

“…they [the victims] are prompted to download what is purported to be an update of the Adobe Flash player. If they download and execute the file, they will infect their computer with Koobface.”

…and I can see myself falling for that. That’s actually a pretty good technique if you ask me :-)

However, I updated my free AdAware anti-spyware/virus software and ran a scan but it came up empty so I’m really not sure what happened.

Anyhow, while it sucked to lose control of my Twitter account and have my Facebook account send spam from my account, I wasn’t all that stressed about it since I’m really not a big user of social networking sites.

Now, if it were my PayPal, bank, server, or e-mail accounts I’d be real pissed!

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Posted: August 16th, 2009 under Miscellaneous  

38 Responses to “My Twitter and Facebook Accounts Hacked”

  1. Greg Ellison says:

    I am sorry to hear that. It really sucks to go through that. This month has been bad for high profile DDOS attacks. I hope they get these people that are doing it. Greg Ellison

  2. Luke says:

    I can see myself easily falling for Koobface as well. I recently had my account at an affiliate network compromised and it could very well have been because of that.

    Twitter has a great support team and they’re usually pretty quick to respond. Glad to see you’ve got your account back :)

  3. McMillan says:

    Its really some serious stuff. Glad you got your twitter account restored. Hopefully they catch those who do the DDOS attacks

  4. Sorry you were hacked.

    On the plus side, it’s good to know that Twitter responds (pretty quickly it appears), considering the number and volume of requests they are dealing with all the time.

    Sorry again to hear about your accounts.

    Warmest,
    Jonathan

  5. Indo Contest says:

    Sorry to hear that, Tyler…
    My twitter also been hacked while ago but twitter restored it back too. fortunately, I realize my account being hacked is not too long.

    I use Roboform now to control all my Social Network login & pass. ;0

  6. Thank you for sharing your experiences. With your post you can help lots of twitter and facebook users to be cautious. I have not yet encountered those problems, but may also follow your solutions, like what you did to twitter guys.

    Thanks a lot.

    Vic

  7. Ohh. That’s a sad thing to hear. But glad that twitter responded quickly and you got your acc. back.

  8. Tunes says:

    These hackers terribly bored! Fortunately, my account on Twitter has not been broken, but my account on other social media sites have been subjected to hacking many times.

  9. Well Tyler I am sorry to hear that. I actually feel sorry for you…not! LOL. I have had people steal websites from me on multiple occasions within the last few months so I can understand your pain, but can you feel mine ;). Maybe you can let me make a guest post on your blog so I can throw a pity party too! JK I am suffering from lack of sleep don’t take anything personal.

    Later,

    P.S. – Readers don’t click my name and go steal my site k?

  10. Good you got the accounts back, damn

  11. Andrew says:

    As for the hacking stuff, bad luck on that, but some other tips are:

    * Never keep the password a site gives you – change it immediately.
    * Never use a dictionary word. Or anything that’s personal to you. A random jumble of characters will do fine.
    * Take advantage of all the characters each website lets you use – if it lets you use numbers, caps, spaces and other symbols, use them all at least one or twice.
    * If the password-chooser feature has a weak/medium/strong thing, keep going until you find a strong password.
    * As much of a pain it is to remember multiple passwords, don’t use the exact same password for each site. Even if you use the same base password (‘dn76lP3′, for example), put ‘fb’ on the end of your Facebook password (‘dn76lP3fb’) , ‘yt’ on the end of your YouTube one (”dn76lP3yt’), etc.
    * Never write it down. Ever. And never use the ‘save password’ mechanism on sites – Chrome, especially, is notorious for having it’s list of saved passwords easily accessible.
    * Change your password every 1-2 months.

    Yes, it’s simple things that seems almost patronising to point out, but everyone sometimes forgets small things like a simple password can eventually lead to big problems later down the line.

  12. Paul B says:

    Glad to hear that you got sorted out. Hackers are a giant pain in the a$$.

    A friend of mine had his gmail account hacked last year. The problem was all to do with ebay (he used his gmail account for his ebay username and the same password). Seems to be really easy to hack eBay and if the person is using the same details then it’s open season on e-mail accounts.

    Fortunately Google sorted him out in less than a day, the Nigerian hackers still have control of his eBay account to this day though.

  13. MLDina says:

    Ouch, Twitter and Facebook all at the same time? I thought your accounts were linked when I first read the post title, but it seems to be separate attacks?

    Also, on an unrelated note, I think you need to do another three little web gurus follow up using this story.

  14. It’s good that Twitter reinstated your account, but 10 days later?! That’s ridiculous… they need some better customer service over there.

  15. Dana says:

    Great post, Tyler. I would like to add a suggestion for everyone:
    Write down your passwords in a notebook (the kind with paper) and tell a trusted loved one about the notebook. That way, if you’re incapacitated for any reason, they can log on to all your accounts and try to sort things out for you until you’re able to handle them again.

  16. used tires says:

    Hey Tyler, sorry to hear this happened to you man. Honestly I would suggest you getting Kaspersky Anti-virus, sure you gotta pay for it, but the security it provides is much better than the free version you have. They also have a 30 day free trial, so why not try it out at least? I wouldn’t doubt it that you had some sort of computer worm or virus. Just too coincidental that both your twitter and facebook got compromised.

    Till then,

    Jean

  17. EarningStep says:

    damn it , what happen . i am sorry to hear about this news , i hope everything will be normal again.. good luck tyler , your blog is always my inspiration with or without twitter ( because i always visit your blog / not your update on twitter )

  18. This is a terrible thing to have happen. At least twitter listened to you and helped you get your account back, which is rare for a big company to help.

  19. eh? that’s good. I’ll follow you, looking forward for your tweets.

  20. Brad says:

    it’s been 7 days and twitter hasn’t unsuspended my account,

    I retweeted about an techcrucnh article about “getting more followers” and then they banned me for that tweet.

    It really sucks.

  21. am happy you got your account reinstated…

  22. Sorry to hear that you have been hacked some many times. On the other hand the should confirm to you that you are very successful. No one would bother hacking a regular person when they can hack a big fish and reap more rewards from their deceit.

  23. Bidet says:

    Wow that really sucks, im glad not too much damage was done. That virus sounds really nasty, and many people update they flash player. I wonder how many people are infected by koobface

  24. Hmmm, I just updated my Adobe program yesterday…hopefully it wasn’t a virus :(

    -Mike

  25. I haven’t had my facebook hacked before.. and don’t know much about it, but what are the bots doing? Running programs to guess your password? That’s too complicated for me. I’ve seen others who’s accounts have been hacked but (knock on wood) not me yet.

  26. it should say which ISP the address was assigned then you need to see if they will help you find the culprit by telling you who had that ipaddress at that time and date.

  27. Most likely they won’t so you will need to contact cyber 911 or one of those government agencies. and have them do it for you. Then you can sue the guy for damages, identity thieft and invasion. and what ever crimes they suggest.

  28. My account somehow got hacked today. Not much information was on there, but I certainly don’t want anyone using my account. I went in and changed the password. I checked my email several hours later to discover that there were emails from twitter about forgotten passwords.

  29. All you had to do to have your account compromised was to view an already compromised account with javascript turned on. Turning javascript off or using NoScript in Firefox would keep you safe.

  30. They hadn’t messed with much, but they followed a lot of people that will take me a while to fix and some stupid people are following me now. There is a big error message across the top when I log in saying that my account has been suspended.

  31. That flash update is a really clever trick! Maybe even I would have fallen for that.

    Luckily, though, I only visit trusted sites, so nothing like that has happened to me, so far.

  32. Volksphone says:

    There some spam worms in Twitter. The last was from mobsterworld or something. Twitter have to secure more effectively!

  33. I wouldn’t even know if I’d been hacked to be honest! I use both of mine so infrequently nowadays. I’m also surprised that they listened to you, even if you’re completely legit they usually don’t accept any enters intos. They must have already known that they had an issue.

  34. sorry about your account. maybe someone is trying to hack your accounts.by the way dont mind you should confirm to you that you are very successful man.

    Network Marketing

PeerFly

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