Craig Newmark, the founder of the massively popular online bulletin board Craigslist, had his Twitter account compromised and used to distribute malicious links, according to a post on Thursday.
Newmark, the 60 year-old software developer who launched Craigslist as an online information sharing site in the 1990s, posted three messages through his Twitter account late Thursday after he received messages from some of his 63,000 followers that they were receiving spam messages via Twitter Direct Messages.
“Twitter account compromised? Just received this from you: “Have you seen this pic of you? lol,” wrote follower Tristan Justras (@tristanjutras). The post included a shortened link.
Newmark’s first post, around 3:00pm Pacific Time Thursday, suggested he initially believed that the problems were due to his Twitter client. “Folks, thanks! I see the problem now, and I’m guessing it has to do with Twitter user tokens from other Twitter clients I’ve used,” Newmark wrote.
However, he soon posted a follow up message indicating that the problem may be more severe. “I’m now in contact with Twitter regarding problems, seems to be a propagating bit of malware, and I used to know something about this…” he posted at around 3:30 PM Pacific Time.
Newmark wouldn’t be the first prominent Twitter user to be the target of an attack. In March of last year, pop idol Justin Bieber’s account was compromised and used to spread insulting messages about Bieber to his 19 million followers. Lil Wayne was a victim of an account takeover in 2011 and British TV star Kirsti Allsopp in 2010. A rash of compromises of Twitter accounts belonging to news organizations made victims of Fox News, NBC News and USA Today in 2011.
Twitter did not respond to an e-mail request for comment prior to publication of this story.
Newmark now lists his title as “Customer Support Representative and Founder.” His personal net worth has been estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.