After Monday Twitter hack, Burger King reigns again

For one day, at least, Burger King didn’t have things its way.

The fast-food chain saw its Twitter account fall victim to hackers on Monday, with Twitter ultimately suspending the account. By Monday evening, Burger King had been restored to its rightful place on the throne: “Interesting day here at Burger King,” the company tweeted when its account was back online.

Internet malcontents cracked the fast food chain’s Twitter account shortly after noon ET on Monday. Their first post declared that Burger King had been sold to rival McDonald’s.

As a result of a Monday hack, Burger King’s Twitter account took on the look-and-feel of its archrival, McDonald's.

In addition, the splash photo over the account was replaced with image bearing the McDonald’s logo, some Fish McBites and text that declared that Burger King’s Twitter account had been sold to McDonald’s “because the Whopper flopped.”

For some 75 minutes the hackers posted an assortment of tweets to the site. Some included racial epithets and obscenities. One showed a photo of a person shooting up drugs in a bathroom with the tweet, “We caught one of our employees in the bathroom doing this…”

No definitive identification about who was behind the hack has been made. Some reports tied the incident to the hacktivist collective Anonymous, which denied any involvement.

If the pranksters’ intent was to hurt Burger King’s popularity, their efforts appear to have backfired. The fast food chain’s Twitter account started Monday with 77,000 followers. As news spread about the hack, its follower count rose to more than 110,000.

While the Burger King PR team weren’t amused by the hack, others on Twitter saw the company’s misfortune as an opportunity to exercise their wit.

The Burger King hack is just the latest in a long line of attacks on high visibility Twitter accounts. Recent incidents involved actors who starred on the popular BBC science fiction series Dr. Who and Jeremy Clarkson, host of another BBC show, Top Gear.

Clarkson, best known for having a pie thrown in his face during an honorary degree ceremony at Oxford, posted a tongue-in-cheek warning to the spammers who hacked his account.

“I have been hacked by spammers,” he tweeted. “Luckily I have acquired a special set of skills over many years. I will find them. And I will kill them.”

Some security experts say attacks like those on Clarkson and others could be averted if the microblogging site adopted two-factor authentication, as have other large providers of Internet services including Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Dropbox.

Following a hack in January that compromised the accounts of 250,000 Twitter users, reports circulated that Twitter was considering offering a two-factor authentication option. This latest black eye for the microblogging site may fuel momentum within the company to adopt that technology.

Subscribe to the Best of TechHive Newsletter

Comments