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theEweekly Wrap

Twitter’s week of hacks – Yahoo’s new homepage – Google’s Oscars party

Brands hacked as Twitter faces security questions

This week has seen notorious hackers Anonymous cause chaos on Twitter after it commandeered the accounts of high profile brands Burger King and Jeep.

The fast food giant was targeted on Monday, as Anonymous members changed the company logo to that of rivals McDonalds, promoted its special offers and posted further rude messages.

Car manufacturer Jeep fell victim to a similar hack on Tuesday, as its feed announced it was being sold to Cadillac and ceasing factory production.

However, Burger King is said to have gained 30,000 followers as a result of the incident, while a Chrysler spokesman noted that Jeep had been trending worldwide throughout the day.

Events then took an unexpected turn as Anonymous itself fell victim to a Twitter hack. That case saw rival hackers gain control of the Anonymous feed and send messages to its 160,000 followers.

The takeovers have once again drawn attention to the issue of online security, in a week where details of Apple and Facebook hacking attempts have also been revealed.

Twitter is reported to be considered a 'two-factor authentication' method, which would mean anyone trying to access an account from a new device or IP address would also need to enter a code using the mobile phone of the account holder.

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Yahoo unveils new homepage

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced on Wednesday that Yahoo has updated its homepage for the first time in four years.

Writing on her blog, Mayer revealed how the new page is "designed to be more intuitive and personal," allowing users to customise the news they see to fit their own interests, while the news feed will now scroll infinitely to allow instant access to a vast stream of stories.

There is also a "refresh" for some of Yahoo's staple features, including editorial features and the worldwide trend snapshot. Mayer also noted that the new page has been optimised for both tablets and smartphones, and is expected to load faster than its predecessor.

Since the Yahoo homepage was last updated in 2008, revenues have dropped from $7.2 billion to $5 billion, a situation which prompted the company to recruit Mayer from Google last year.

Her decision to improve the homepage comes after comScore statistics revealed that while Yahoo was receiving more visits than ever before, those visitors were not spending a lot of time on the homepage before leaving, and in many cases did not make a return visit.

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Google gets ready for Oscars

Google is helping film fans to make the most of this weekend's Oscars ceremony with a number of special features.

Firstly, by clicking on any member of the primary award categories, including best film, actor, actress and director, you can find a special knowledge graph telling you more about your selected picture or artist.

You can also check out Google Trends to try and predict the winners by looking at who has gained the most searches, and Google has also prepared a special recap of all the nominees in the best film category.

Other features include an image gallery of red carpet fashion from recent years, a quick link to purchase any of the nominated movies from Play Store and an interactive map that allows you to see where you favourite film was shot.

The Oscars will be hosted by Family Guy, American Dad and Ted creator Seth MacFarlane in Los Angeles on Sunday, 24 February.

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Written by James Riches

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