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TMCNet:  HACKERS HIJACK NEXT CITY CHIEF'S TWITTER ACCOUNT ; Thousands worldwide sent to sites offering 'nice boobs', 'hot naked people' and dietsEXCLUSIVE [Sunday Mercury (England)]

[January 19, 2014]

HACKERS HIJACK NEXT CITY CHIEF'S TWITTER ACCOUNT ; Thousands worldwide sent to sites offering 'nice boobs', 'hot naked people' and dietsEXCLUSIVE [Sunday Mercury (England)]

(Sunday Mercury (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) THE former teacher set to take over the running of Birmingham City Council has fallen victim to online fraudsters who hacked his twitter account.

Mark Rogers, 53, who becomes the Pounds 180,000 chief executive of Europe's largest local authority in March, was a high-profile casualty of a phishing attack designed to steal thousands of passwords across Europe.

Cyber conmen hijacked accounts across the continent, and then used them to lure others into the scam. Some victims were directed to sites promising 'sexy angels','nice boobs' and 'hot naked people'; others were offered a new diet fad.


The ultimate aim was to get unwary victims to part with their cash.

Although Mr Rogers himself escaped unscathed, his twitter feed was used to send bogus invitations to his 451 followers. "I only realised something was wrong when my PA texted me to say that my in- box had suddenly started filling up with messages, asking me what was going on," he told the Sunday Mercury.

"I was in a meeting at the time and she was quite alarmed because it's the first time I've been hacked.

"When I had chance to look there were dozens and dozens of tweets from my followers, and e-mails from people warning me that someone was apparently taking liberties with my twitter account.

"I assumed it was because of my impending move to Birmingham - people thinking 'That smart alec needs to be taken down a peg or two.' .' That shows just how conceited I can be!" " It was only when he began to investigate that Mr Rogers, currently chief executive of neighbouring Solihull Council, discovered how he had been fooled.some friends clicked link themselves at a diet - and gave game They I'd be last to that on a "When I started tracking back, I realised how I'd been duped," he explained. "It was very clever.

"The tweet that reeled me in appeared to be from a friend who I know very well. The message ran 'ha-ha, this so reminds me of you'.

"It was the luck of the draw that it was a friend who, I thought, might well have an amusing anecdote or photo to share with me.

of my who the found "I admit I was duped. That was the killer tweet.

"I thought I was being targeted directly. It's a bit disappointing to discover that I'm one of thousands." site that the away. knew the person suggest they go diet." Other victims of the scam ranged from chefs to students.

When they clicked on the link contained in the tweet, they were asked to sign in to what appeared to be an official Twitter log-in page so they could access the information. But it was a meticulous fake, and their identities were then used to send out invitations to view porn and diet sites.

"Some of my friends who clicked the link found themselves at a diet site - and that gave the game away," said Mr Rogers. "They knew that I'd be the last person to suggest that they go on a diet. I like my food, although I think I have a sylph-like figure! "I myself have had similar tweets purporting to be from a diet company, and I have deleted them all.

"My advice is 'if it looks to be a bit out of the ordinary, then it probably is so don't touch it. Don't just click to open the link. Think about it first.

"You should also make sure you change your password regularly - and ensure it's not an easy one to guess.

"Last, but not least, don't be freaked out if you are hacked. These things are going to happen given the growth of social media. If you fall victim then, like me, you won't be the only one." Mr Rogers takes over as chief executive of Birmingham City Council on March 3, and will also head up the new economy directorate with a focus on generating jobs and economic growth in the city.

He has been chief executive of Solihull Borough Council since 2007. Before that he was Solihull's director of children's services and is still regarded as a national authority on child protection.

He is also President of the trade association for top town hall offi-cials, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE).

Mr Rogers began his career in 1985 as a teacher, having quali- fied to teach pupils with Special Educational Needs, subsequently working in a range of special schools in the Midlands and North West and becoming a head teacher in 1994.

Some of my friends who clicked the link found themselves at a diet site - and that gave the game away. They knew I'd be the last person to suggest that they go on a diet.

(c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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