Turkish hackers hijack high-profile Twitter accounts to broadcast 'Nazi' spam

Other accounts included publishing sites for Die Welt and Forbes and several non-profit agencies including Amnesty International and UNICEF USA as well as Duke University.

Thousands of Twitter accounts have been hacked and then defaced with anti Dutch messages and Nazi symbols, by attackers supportive of controversial Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan.

Twitter is pointing people to its support website, which recommends that people "be cautious before giving third-party applications access to your account [and] review third-party applications that have access to your account from time to time".

The hack also swapped out the accounts' profile photos.

"We are aware of an issue affecting a number of account holders this morning", said a Twitter spokeswoman.

Twitter Counter sought to further reassure users by saying that it does not store users' Twitter account credentials (passwords) nor credit card information. Quite why it would need write access, unless it is planning its own self-promotion, I can't say.

Twitter has since said that it has located and removed the source of the hacking attack.

The restrictions caused outrage in Turkey with Erdogan accusing Germany and the Netherlands of "Nazi" practices. This is not the first time that Twitter Counter is in the limelight.

The accounts which fell victim to the attacks were all apparently using a third-party analytics service called Twitter Counter.

Turkey banned a Dutch ambassador on Tuesday after Dutch officials refused to allow a Turkish Foreign Minister to visit the Netherlands over the weekend, according to CNN.

Twitter Counter CEO Omer Ginor told Bloomberg that the company had a "95 percent certainty" that it had fixed the problem after the November hack. He added: "We've already taken measures to contain such abuse", including suspending the posting of tweets via the Twitter Connect app.

BBC North America confirmed they had been hit, tweeting: Hi everyone - we temporarily lost control of this account, but normal service has resumed.

The incident is a reminder that despite all of the options for securing a Twitter account, apps and services that connect to the social network offer a route for hackers to compromise users.

Some Twitter accounts - such as BBC America and European Parliament - responded quickly that the matter was fixed.

  • Arturo Norris