Hackers on Saturday hijacked the campaign Twitter account of Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
The verified account, seized in a phishing attack, is now on the fritz. Hackers are posting a string of tweets promoting the sale of non-fungible tokens — or NFTs. They’ve also rebranded the profile, leaving no trace of Fried other than the original Twitter tag.
The account now features a banner and profile picture depicting cartoon characters wearing comically themed hats. The phrase “SKULLTOONS” spans across the top.
Fried’s campaign team acknowledged the breach shortly after the incident.
“Earlier this evening, Nikki Fried’s account was compromised through a (phishing) attack,” said Keith Edwards, Fried’s campaign communications director. “We are doing everything we can to get Twitter support to fix it.”
Edwards also offered a warning: “Don’t click on any of the links tweeted from that account.”
A 2022 Democratic gubernational contender, the incident strikes a blow to the heart of Fried’s fundraising operation — social media. The campaign’s strategy leans heavily on it, and often sends messages to followers asking for donations.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Press Secretary, Christina Pushaw, pounced on news of the security breach.
“I knew Nikki Fried’s fundraising numbers were bad, but didn’t think she would get this desperate,” Pushaw wrote in a Twitter post.
Fried is vying against two Democratic primary challengers: Congressman Charlie Crist and Sen. Annette Taddeo.
Taddeo too capitalized on the mishap.
“PSA: I’m not taking donations in crypto,” she tweeted alongside a link to a campaign donation page.
Fried spent Saturday at a Fort Myers campaign event and took part in a Women’s March for Equality.
The account’s last genuine tweets tout the events and feature pictures and videos of the march.
Fried’s official government Twitter account remains in good standing.