Taylor Swift's Twitter account was broken into this afternoon, with her profile tweeting out to over 51 million fans that they should follow someone who claims to be the "leader" of Lizard Squad — the hacking group that's ostensibly behind this attack. Swift has the fourth largest account on Twitter, making this one of the higher-profile breaches that has occurred on the network. Tweets sent by the hacker were deleted within about 15 minutes, as Swift or Twitter itself seemingly recovered the account.
Hackers also claim to have stolen nude photos
Swift's Instagram account was broken into shortly thereafter, with the account posting a photo imploring her fans to follow someone associated with the Twitter hack. She has over 20 million followers on Instagram. That account also appeared to be recovered after a few minutes, deleting the offending photo.
The hackers also claimed to have stolen nude photos of Swift, which they would release for a small payment in Bitcoin. While the hackers may well be bluffing in order to quickly profit off of a social media break in, it became clear over the summer that the private photo thefts are a serious threat. Services like iCloud can automatically back up all of the photos on someone's phone, and that means an intruder can easily grab all of those. After dozens of celebrities had private photos stolen and then published online last year, Apple introduced new security measures, but it isn't clear how effective those will be to prevent future attacks.
Chances are good these intrusions are not high-tech hacks. A number of major Twitter users have fallen victim to phishing attacks over the past few years, eventually leading Twitter — after much outcry — to implement two-factor security. And while Swift has more followers than those who were hacked in the past, the intrusion on her social media accounts seemingly did far less damage: the Associated Press' Twitter account was broken into back in 2013, leading to a tweet about explosions in the White House that moved markets, despite being quickly proven false.
Update: It appears Swift has reclaimed her Twitter account, thanking Paramore's Hayley Williams "for being the first to text me about the hack this morning" — but not before this all-star quip:
Cause the hackers gonna hack, hack, hack, hack, hack...— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) January 27, 2015
Swift is also being quick to dismiss the hackers' claims that they have nude photos (but not, however, with parody lyrics).
PS any hackers saying they have 'nudes'? Psssh you'd love that wouldn't you! Have fun photoshopping cause you got NOTHING.— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) January 27, 2015