More than 2,500 Twitter accounts have been compromised to tweet links to adult dating and sex websites, global cyber security leader Symantec said on Tuesday.
There were a number of high-profile accounts caught up in the hacking, including ones belonging to the band Chromeo, a journalist working for The Telegraph, stand-up comedian Azeem Banatwala, Houston Texans wide receiver Cecil Shorts III and the late New York Times reporter David Carr, the report added.
The attackers changed the profile photo and the basic information of the accounts to promote adult sites.
“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,” the report noted.
If users visit the compromised profile, they will see tweets — with sexually suggestive photos and shortened links — that claim to offer free sign-ups to watch “hot shows” over webcam or dates and sexual encounters.
Symantec believes the culprit responsible for these compromises earns $4 for each person who signs up for the adult dating site.
The company also noted some steps to secure the Twitter accounts.
It asked users to create strong and unique passwords or use a password manager if you want to create and securely store your passwords.
“Instead of relying on just a password, consider enabling Twitter’s Login Verification that requires you to enter a code that is sent to your mobile phone. This adds an extra layer of security,” the company said.