Twitter Hackers Serving Up Extra Large Combos with Burger King
- By Ginger Hill
- Mar 11, 2013
Wouldn’t it be nice to log into Twitter and see an extra 60,000 followers? That’s exactly what happened to Burger King: people began following their account by the tens of thousands. Were they giving away Whoppers? Nope. Hmmm, something seemed a little fishy…fishier than Burger King’s Premium Alaskan Fish Sandwich. Where did all these new followers come from?
Come to find out, Burger King’s Twitter account had been hacked. Before their account was compromised, Burger King had about 50,000 followers but after being hacked, the followers increased to more than 110,000.
It was unclear who was responsible for the hack, but it did demonstrate how quickly a company’s outreach to their loyal fans can turn into an embarrassing situation. At one point, Burger King’s profile message said that they had been sold to McDonald’s, obviously a direct competitor, because the Whopper, Burger King’s flagship sandwich, had flopped.
At another point during the account hacking, McDonald’s tweeted: “We empathize with our @BurgerKing counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking.”
So, how did the hijacking happen? To my knowledge, no official reports have been released; however, remember how Twitter is accessed with a username and password? Well, if a person’s computer is infected with malicious software, it is easy for hackers to hijack accounts. Not saying that this is what happened, but it could be one plausible explanation.
Other social media platforms (Facebook and YouTube) offer two-factor authentication, providing greater security because it requires something in addition to a password, like a code sent by text message to a registered mobile device. If Twitter had this type of authentication, hackers would have been forced to get past two layers of security instead of only one.
We may never know the truth as to how or who actually hacked into Burger King’s Twitter account; however, one truth we do know is social media security is a huge issue that can cause major problems.
Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.