Tesla’s Twitter back after hackers hijack feed

26 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hackers temporarily take control of Tesla’s website, Elon Musk’s Twitter account.

Until they were deleted, a stream of uncharacteristic tweets—captured in this screenshot—promised free Teslas for people who followed “Ripprgang & @wheresAMP” and crowed “The dragon strikes again @chf060.” The group or person that briefly took over the account identified itself as Ripprgang. Tesla Motors Inc.’s Twitter feed and its media-relations e-mail account were hacked Saturday, with the electric-car maker led by billionaire Elon Musk becoming the latest victim of online vandals.The first signs of the hijacking popped up around 1:52 P.M. pacific, when a tweet from the account declared that it was now under the control of its attackers, and the account’s name was changed from “Tesla Motors” to “#RIPPRGANG”. Twitter has suspended that account, which belonged to an individual or group called “Devin Bharath.” Other Twitter users shared screen shots of a hijacked Twitter account for @Elonmusk, the founder of Tesla.

Around 5 PM ET, a strange tweet popped up on the company’s official Twitter account, suggesting the company was no longer in control of what was being posted. The hacker or hackers who compromised Tesla’s Twitter feed were able to post messages to the Palo Alto, California-based company’s more than 564,000 followers, and one of the attackers responded to an e-mail message to Tesla’s press contact, indicating that account was compromised, too. “It’s not been hacked sir,” the person wrote from a Gmail account, identifying him or herself as a “tesla press representative” using a name that’s been linked to earlier attacks on other companies. Over about a 10-minute period, the hacker sent out 11 tweets, mostly tagging other people and advertising a “free Tesla” if people called a number that routes to a computer repair shop in Oswego, Ill.

They often occur when people managing the account fail to turn on so-called two-factor authentication, which involves entering a code sent via text message to the owner’s phone, in addition to a password. At any rate the Tesla IT people must have scrambled, because the website and the Twitter account were back to normal in about 30 minutes, as far as we can tell.

Its Twitter account, meanwhile, still seems to be hijacked. (We’ve avoided linking directly to any of the hacked sites in the off chance that the sites themselves were made to compromise the user’s security.) It’s not unusual for a high-profile Twitter account to get hijacked — many of the most followed accounts in the world have fallen at one time or another. Some of the same verbiage seen on the hacked Tesla account also showed up on Musk’s page, including the #RIPPERGANG handle and the Illinois phone number. It’s unclear if the hack compromised the security of Tesla’s own servers, or if the site hijacking is a result of something like DNS/domain redirection.

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