Barack Obama, Britney Spears, Bill O'Reilly Have One Thing In Common: They Were Hacked On Twitter

This story was written by Tricia Duryee.
Who would have guessed that in the New Year, Twitter, the popular micro-blogging service, would be for the most part stable, but fall victim to hackers and phishing schemes? Well, it's true, and it will be interesting to see if this threatens the Twitter's long-term viability, as it tries to mature into a revenue-making company. At the minimum, there might be a twinge of regret on the founders' part for not selling out to Facebook when they had the chance. This weekend Twitter was the target of a phishing scam, in which messages were sent out to look-alike sites that asked users to login using their username and password. And today, more information is surfacing on the outcome of such an endeavor. On Twitter's blog, co-founder Biz Stone wrote: "This morning we discovered 33 Twitter accounts had been "hacked" including prominent Twitter-ers like Rick Sanchez and Barack Obama (who has not been Twittering since becoming the president elect due to transition issues)."

The most high-profile hack, perhaps, which spread on Twitter like wildfire was that Fox News broke then news that "Bill O'Riley is gay." (Yes, spelling mistake and all). TechCrunch reported this one, and others like Britney Spears. Twitter said they "immediately locked down the accounts and investigated the issue. Rick, Barack, and others are now back in control of their accounts.We considered this a very serious breach of security and immediately took the support tools offline. We'll put them back only when they're safe and secure."

Perhaps Twitter's response to the two instances shows that it can provide immediate actionafter all, keeping any hacks for occurring is often impossible. Stone wrote that in both cases, "our on-call team was able to attend to the matter quickly and prevent too many people from being affected." The company also says it plans to implement an authentication protocol, "but it's important to note that this would not have prevented a Phishing scam nor would it have prevented these accounts from being compromised."

By Tricia Duryee