October 08, 2009

Benchmark Capital's Twitter Gets Hacked to Hawk Plasma TVs

Benchmark Capital had a string of profitable exits earlier this summer, culminating in a big day that saw FriendFeed sold to Facebook and SpringSource acquired by VMware on the same day this August. The firm is among the most respected in Silicon Valley, and a leading name on Sand Hill Road.

That's why I was more than a little surprised tonight to see Benchmark's official Twitter account start to spout promotions for flat-screen TVs. Not only did it look fishy, but it was done "from API", while all updates on the account to date have been "from Web", which indicates that the activity took place automatically, and not by hand.

VCs Typically Promote Their Funds and Portfolio, Not TVs...

Whether one of Benchmark's multiple Twitter users accidentally clicked through to some phishing scam, or if some bot just managed to get lucky, is unknown, but it looks like the damage was undone relatively quickly. That there are malicious characters out there trying to hack into Twitter is no surprise, but it's always eye-opening when a big name gets caught. Maybe it's time they change their password.

To be fair, many other accounts look to also have been compromised by this "Free Plasma" bot. See Twitter Search for many more affected.