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Twitter hackers strike again, this time @Jeep
[February 19, 2013]

Twitter hackers strike again, this time @Jeep

Feb 19, 2013 (Detroit Free Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Today, hackers dragged Jeep's name through the mud on the brand's Twitter account.

In tweets that began shortly after 1 p.m., the Jeep logo on Twitter became a Cadillac logo and tweets were implying drug use by company executives.

The hacker also posted a racial slur to the social media page before Jeep regained control of the account and deleted the tweets.

"We got sold to @Cadillac because we caught our employees doing these in the bathroom," the hacker posted to Jeep's Twitter account today about 1:30 p.m. The tweet included a link to a photo of a bottle of prescription-only pills.

The situation mirrors a crisis faced by Burger King on Monday when its account was hacked, and the Burger King profile picture was changed to a McDonald's logo.

It was not immediately clear whether the episodes were related.

-- VIDEO: Burger King's Twitter account hacked, replaced by McDonalds Collectively, the incidents highlighted the growing threat to companies, governments and individuals from online attackers. Separately, the U.S. government and major media organizations are facing online security threats from foreign governments, including China, according to numerous reports.

For brands such as Jeep, hackers can create an instant communications crisis. The hacker today used the Jeep account to post a link to a photo of a bottle of prescription-only pills.

"Sorry guys ... no more @Jeep production because we caught our CEO doing this," said another Jeep tweet with a photo showing what appears to be a man doing drugs.

Chrysler spokesman Ed Garsten said the Twitter account is operated by Ignite Social Media, a social media agency in Birmingham.

Ignite could not be reached immediately for comment. However, on Monday, Ignite took note of the Burger King incident and posted "9 Tips for Greater Social Media Security," on its website. The blog can be read at here.

Information security expert Rob Malan, a co-founder of Ann Arbor-based Arbor Networks, said hackers are engaging in a digital "arms race" with their targets as both sides race to keep up with one another.

"Security is so incredibly hard and all it takes is one little weak spot to compromise the whole chain," Malan said. "If you have an asset worth protecting, like corporate identity or something that can easily be tarnished by a cowboy who takes over like that, you've got to be pretty vigilant about what steps you take to secure all aspects of its capability." It looks like the Jeep account was hacked shortly after 1 p.m. today. As of 2:30 p.m., many of the tweets were still online, but the profile picture was changed to a green background with a white egg instead of the Cadillac or Jeep logo.

Chrysler regained control of the Jeep account shortly before 3 p.m. and wiped out the hacker's doings.

A spokeswoman for General Motors said on Twitter that Cadillac was not responsible for the Jeep hacking incident.

Charlie Wollborg, founding partner of marketing firm Curve Detroit, said the Jeep hacking incident is not surprising. What's important, he said, is how the brand responds.

"You need to know what the contingency plan is," he said. "It's disaster planning just like you have fire planning, flood insurance. What's our protocol If we get hacked, this is what we do." On Monday, when Burger King's Twitter account was hacked, similar tweets were published and its logo was changed to a McDonald's logo.

Wollborg said Jeep could devise a clever way to leverage the incident to its advantage.

After all, Burger King got thousands of new followers on its Twitter account after Monday's hacking.

"Now you have a crisis you have to smart to," he said. "Respond smart, respond on brand, make sure your actions are appropriate and make sure your voice is appropriate. It's not the end of the world. These things are going to happen." Corporate security experts have argued that simple passwords are easy to swipe. For example, employees accessing public network may be putting their personal information at risk.

"It could be somebody from marketing posting from a mobile device from a coffee shop or something," Malan said. "A lot of times it's just inside information that's captured and exploited by a small group of people." Contact Brent Snavely: 313-222-6512 or ___ (c)2013 the Detroit Free Press Visit the Detroit Free Press at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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