It's the festive season but would you really expect Lady Gaga to give you a free iPad 2? That was the exact message being broadcast from Lady Gaga's Twitter account earlier, promising each and every one of her 17 million followers an iPad 2 and all they had to do was click the link for details.
Of course, there was no iPad. The Lady Gaga Twitter account had been hacked and if you clicked on that link it would take you to a number of different sites via redirects and then dump you at a survey designed to scam you out of valuable personal information. Equally 'of course' as soon as the tweet appeared it was retweeted by thousands of innocent fans keen to spread the apparent good news, meaning the scope of this particular scam is truly epic. Even though the first link in the chain has now been suspended by Bit.ly for being suspicious, the chances are that other links will be out there and still live so don't be sucked into the scam yourself. Even at this time of year, especially at this time of year, there's no such thing as a free iPad.
Lady Gaga was quick to acknowledge the attack and inform her fans "the hacking is over" but the damage has already been done and many will now be wondering if they can trust the Lady Gaga Twitter feed at all.
If that wasn't bad enough, another Free iPad 2 scam has hit the Lady Gaga official Facebook page with more than 45 million fans. This time a 'message' was posted which suggested that a new Lady Gaga version of the iPad 2 was about to be released and fans of the pop sensation could sign up for a chance to win one as part of a massive seasonal giveaway. Once again, fans were asked to click a link to read the rules and then get entered into the prize draw. Once again the users would have been redirected to that scamming survey page. Once again the message was removed within the hour, and once again the damage had already been done to the Lady Gaga brand.
I'm a hacker turned writer and consultant, specialising in IT security. I've been a freelance word punk for over 20 years and along the way I have seen 23 of my books published, produced and presented programmes for TV and radio, picked up a bunch of awards and continue being a contributing editor with PC Pro - the best selling IT magazine in the UK .