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first direct Twitter spam: an apology

26 Feb 2010

If you're reading this you're probably aware that at 5 am this morning first direct 's Twitter account was hijacked and used to spam our followers. We'd like to apologise for the message itself (no need to repeat it) and for the way we dealt with it in the first instance.

We would like to offer you some explanation for our actions...

How did it happen?

This morning (about 00.30 am) we received a rather salacious Tweet from one of our followers (their account had been hijacked too) and whilst checking it out proceeded to read the other direct messages we'd received.  One direct message was from a trusted source it read "ha ha is this you?" and included a link which we unthinkingly clicked on. 
We can confirm that our Twitter password is extremely secure (a long string of randomised characters, and regularly changed), and the only reason they were able to gain access to our account was through the mistake we made.  Obviously we changed our password as soon as we realised what had happened (and we have revoked the OAuth access of the spam generator), so our account is secure again.

Why did we respond the way we did?

We tweeted quickly out of a desire to re-assure people and perhaps should have gone straight to the third of our three tweets. We should have got an apology up sooner, and we probably shouldn't have used the word "hack". Twice.
We've now put steps in place to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Have any other first direct accounts been tampered with?

Absolutely not. This was an isolated incident affecting our Twitter account only.

Final word

This is new to us and to the financial services sector as a whole. We made a mistake, fixed it as soon as possible and we're taking steps to ensure it doesn't happen again. We're very sorry, but we are only human afterall.

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