Qantas' Twitter account has been sending direct messages (DMs) to its followers about weight loss, but it's nothing to do with reducing flight weight — its account was hacked by spammers.
The issue appeared to be resolved early this morning, with Qantas issuing an apology statement and replying to users who had complained.
Qantas confirmed that its Twitter account had been compromised and that it has now rectified the situation.
Users that spammed received the following DM:
Are you wanting to lose some weight? i highly suggest this [link to website]
Some might recognise it as the same spam attack that compromised the UK National Health Agency's NHS Direct Twitter account, which Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Clueley picked up on early last week.
In the UK case, Clueley said that because NHS Direct was known for providing health advice, it was possible people would have thought the link was genuine. However, even though Qantas isn't known for health advice, it is a large enough company that most might not expect it to be hacked. At least one recipient of the Qantas spam thought it was genuine, replying to Qantas: "I cant see that Blog link you sent me".
However, things could have been worse for Qantas. Earlier this year when Fox News and NBC's Twitter accounts were hacked, they were used to spread false news that US President Barack Obama had died and that an aircraft had crashed into the former World Trade Centre site, Ground Zero.
Companies don't appear to be the only ones caught out by Twitter hackers. Queensland Shadow ICT Minister Ros Bates had her Twitter account compromised last month, which similarly sent out links to suspicious websites via DM, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak's account reported that he made money working from home.
Updated 2:24pm, 26 October 2011: Qantas confirms its Twitter account was hacked.