Twitter porn hits 800 UK bank followers, media and government

Twitter porn has hit all 800 of First Direct's Twitter followers. Last night, we started to see all sorts of Twitter weirdness.

Twitter porn has hit all 800 of First Direct's Twitter followers. Last night, we started to see all sorts of Twitter weirdness. Once again, it seemed the phishing attack reported earlier in the week had resurrected. Pretty soon it became apparent something else was going on.

Different messages were appearing (see illustration from my @replies stream) but broadly along the same lines. This morning, my EU followers woke up to what seemed a bewildering array of Twitter porn. It seems the same or similar happened to First Direct, leaving them as confused and bemused as the rest of us:

The tweet, posted at 05.30 read: 'hey, I've been having better sex and longer with this here', and pointed to a link to third party site.

The bank resumed control during business hours with the following message: 'Hi all, I'm sure you can tell, but we were hacked last night - please disregard any inappropriate tweets that purport to come from us!'

This was followed by a slightly panicky clarification: 'Re. previous Tweet I just want to clarify that only our Twitter account has been hacked!!! We've changed our password so all should be well.'

Which prompted a third message: 'no password issues, it was a link in a DM. No customer / personal data has been compromised. Sorry for any offense caused.'

First Direct is the only UK bank that has openly embraced Twitter. According to the Finextra report:

...it has won plaudits and applause in social media circles for its willingness to engage with customers in a Web 2.0-connected environment.

According to the UK's Guardian:

Among those who fell victim were the Press Complaints Commission Nick Higham- and the Guardian's head of audio Matt Wells.

Update: other victims included Ed Miliband, the transport minister.

It is perhaps an indication of just how unthinking Web 2.0 marketers can be that they applaud a company that subsequently falls foul of Twitter scams yet never point up these types of risk. This being Twitter, there was nothing about the incident on the main status update page. (as at the time of hitting the 'go' button on this post.)

Surely the time has come for vendors scrambling to integrate Twitter to start thinking again? By the same token those market mavens who scream about how dopey people like I am for poo-poo'ing social media might want to take a lesson or two in basic computing security as it applies to enterprise.

My advice to anyone today thinking about incorporating Twitter into their systems is simple: don't do it anywhere near a business application. You're taking too big a risk in all sorts of compliance areas.

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