A large, unspecified number of Pinterest users got a shock when they realized that their accounts had been hacked and photos of butts and weight loss spam replaced their account profiles. The reports began coming in Thursday night, but Pinterest confirmed the incident on Friday.
Hackers managed to gain control of the profile pages by tricking Pinterest users into clicking on “Pin This” widgets on suspicious apps and websites, all of which had malicious hidden code. The butt photos and weight loss spam were then posted all over the users’ image boards, replacing their own actual account profiles.
Reports of Pinterest accounts being breached have come from all over the world, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Morocco, Russia and Vietnam.
Creators of Pinterest, a visual discovery tool, were alerted to incidents of spam early Thursday evening, according to a Pinterest statement, which further said that the reports were “not on large scale.”
The company said it had already begun the cleaning up process as it takes the security of its users very seriously. According to the statement, the company has also put affected accounts immediately into safe mode to prevent any further abuse of the accounts. Any Pinterest accounts with suspicious activity is put into safe mode by the firm so that it “locks down” and no changes can be made. Users can unlock their accounts by resetting their passwords.
The statement further advised Pinners, as Pinterest users are called, to choose strong and unique passwords as a precautionary step. It said that if any user wanted further information, they can contact the firm’s help center. The statement also informed that all affected accounts have been secured.
The Pinterest statement also advised users who have not been hacked to be cautious and asked them to refrain from clicking on any of these photos if they come across them. The company said that doing so will make these users’ accounts vulnerable to attack as well.
Users have also been warned to be careful before repinning photos and to check the destination of the photos before they click on them. Pinterest users have also been advised to only log in through Pinterest.com and the site’s official mobile app.
Interestingly, for those who do not know, the Better Business Bureau had put out an alert earlier this month, urging users to not click on suspicious looking “pins” – the term Pinterest uses for digital scrapbook images.
Users also took to Twitter to post their hacked account photos and to request that Pinterest management to take action. Twitter user hermioneway tweeted a screenshot of her account, addressing @Pinterest and saying that her account had been hacked “with someone posting hundreds of butt pictures all over” her Pinterest boards.
Pinterest has been around for a while, but did not gain popularity until recently. As has been seen from previous practices, any website that is popular is a likely target of hackers. Of course, this also made the up-and-coming Pinterest attractive for hackers who posted photos of butts and weight loss spam in place of account profiles.
By Faryal Najeeb