- The Washington Times - Monday, February 18, 2013

Hackers “had it their way” with Burger King’s Twitter account Monday.

Burger King suspended its Twitter feed after the account profile picture was changed to a McDonald’s logo and a series of unauthorized tweets, including obscene messages and misinformation, went out on the social media site.

“It has come to our attention that the Twitter account of the BURGER KING brand has been hacked,” Burger King spokesman Bryson Thornton said in a statement. “We have worked directly with administrators to suspend the account until we are able to re-establish our legitimate site and authentic postings. We apologize to our fans and followers who have been receiving erroneous tweets about other members of our industry and additional inappropriate topics.”

The hacking started at noon and lasted for about an hour. The hackers posted more than 50 tweets and retweets before the account was suspended. Some of the tweets took shots at Burger King’s food, while others were racist.

“We just got sold to McDonalds!” the hackers tweeted. “Look for McDonalds in a hood near you.”

Burger King’s profile information read, “Just got sold to McDonalds because the whopper flopped.”

The No. 3 burger chain’s biggest competitors, McDonald’s and Wendy’s, took the online jibes in stride.

McDonald’s responded on Twitter: “We empathize with our @BurgerKing counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking.”

The hackers also mentioned Wendy’s. “if I catch you at a wendys, we’re fightin!” they tweeted.

Wendy’s joked: “We have an alibi.”

Though no one publicly claimed responsibility for the hacking, the underground hacking group Anonymous tweeted: “The King has been dethroned…”

Monday’s hijacking of the Burger King account is the latest example of a rash of cybersecurity breaches plaguing American business and government.

Earlier this month, Twitter announced that about 250,000 accounts had been hacked. Now, Burger King has been added to the list.

But Twitter isn’t the first social network to suffer a massive hacking intrusion. Last June, LinkedIn had 6.4 million passwords stolen.

“The attackers were extremely sophisticated, and we believe other companies and organizations have also been recently similarly attacked,” Bob Lord, Twitter’s director of information security, said earlier this month in a blog post about Twitter’s previous hacking failure.

“For that reason, we felt that it was important to publicize this attack while we still gather information, and we are helping government and federal law enforcement in their effort to find and prosecute these attackers to make the Internet safer for all users.”

• Tim Devaney can be reached at tdevaney@washingtontimes.com.

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