Threatwatch

Buffer briefly spurted spam at your social contacts

Network intrusion

The site that schedules users’ Facebook, Twitter and other online messages began blasting their acquaintances with fake missives, after a hack.

And the tomfoolery was contagious.

“Assuming that your friends were foolish enough to click on the link within your Facebook post, it's possible that they opened up their systems to a bit of spam themselves. As of right now, though, it only appears that some of those using Buffer blasted Facebook with weight-loss-themed spam – nothing worse,” PC Magazine reports.

The problem was fixed within a day and user passwords were unaffected.

Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne detailed what was happening on a company blog throughout the ordeal:

"I wanted to post a quick update and apologize for the awful experience we've caused many of you on your weekend. Buffer was hacked around 2 hours ago, and many of you may have experienced spam posts sent from you via Buffer. I can only understand how angry and disappointed you must be right now.”

To combat the problem, Buffer bumped offline its entire app on Facebook – which meant that all posts made via the app were temporarily hidden starting at around noon or so (PST) yesterday, according to PC Magazine.

“Twitter connections were restored around 2:30, allowing users to post to their Twitter feeds using Buffer once again. Finally, around 8 p.m. or so, Buffer managed to fully secure and restore its app back to standard working conditions,” the publication explained.

Facebook told Buffer that 6.3 percent, or 30,000, users who had a Facebook page (out of 476,343 total pages connected to Buffer) were affected and had spam posted on their behalf. 

Buffer plans to publish an in-depth entry on what the hackers accessed and the steps taken to resolve the issue.

"In short, we encrypted all access tokens for Twitter and Facebook and also added other security measurements to make everything much more bullet proof," Gascoigne said.

Buffer officials later took the bold move of inviting all who have questions to email the Buffer team directly.

"Understandably, a lot of people have emailed us, so we might take a short while to get back to everyone, but we will respond to every single email," Gascoigne wrote in an email to all Buffer users.

ThreatWatch is a regularly updated catalog of data breaches successfully striking every sector of the globe, as reported by journalists, researchers and the victims themselves.

sector

Social Media

reported

October 27, 2013

reported by

PC Magazine

number affected

At least 30,000 Buffer users

location of breach

Unknown

perpetrators

Unknown

location of perpetrators

Unknown

date breach occurred

October 26, 2013

date breach detected

October 26, 2013