February seems to be a #trendy month for hacked Twitter accounts. In just a few short weeks, we have seen Virgin Australia and Ringo Starr post some uncharacteristic things on their social profiles. This came days after the leader of Labour Party’s debacle on Twitter.
Last February, several high-profile attacks were carried out across social networks. First, the accounts of Newsweek and International Business Times were compromised by ISIS supporters (likely the same actors who compromised CENTCOM), and second, the accounts of Delta Airlines were compromised by an unknown actor who sent out a variety of vulgar posts.
Let’s take a quick look into the Virgin Australia, Ringo Starr and Jeremy Corbyn hacked Twitter accounts.
The Virgin Australia Twitter account let loose a questionable tweet following the release of Kanye West’s new album, The Life of Pablo. Likely stemming from the drama between Kanye and Taylor Swift, either a wayward marketer or hacker tagged Kanye with the acronym EAD, internet speak for “eat a d**k.”
Luckily for Virgin Airlines, the tweet was only live for 60 seconds, but that was enough for it to be seen by thousands of their followers. A statement issued by Virgin Australia denied any involvement. “A recent tweet on our account was not published by a Virgin Australia employee and we are investigating the matter,” the statement said. “We apologize for any offense caused.”
A heck of a lot of people like One Direction’s Harry Styles. Ringo Starr, however, did not appear to be one of those people.
Geoff Lloyd, one of the first to spot the hack, tweeted: “Happening now – Ringo Starr’s Twitter account has been hacked.” Because Ringo always ends his tweets with “peace & love” his followers assumed his account had been compromised.
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK Labour Party, had his Twitter hijacked after an aide left his account open in a Berlin hostel. The mishap resulted in a strange string of tweets, including: “Davey Cameron is a pie,” and, “Here we.. here we.. here we f****** go!!!”
The four posts were retweeted thousands of times before being taken down.’
Final Thoughts on Hacked Twitter Accounts
With these headlines in mind, it should be no surprise that account hijacking is a growing challenge for brands and individuals. Social media accounts are high-value targets, considering they are often the mouthpiece of an organization. They are just as valuable (if not more so) than other publicly facing assets, such as websites.
Social media has created a superhighway for cybercrime, where attacks propagate themselves like any other viral trend and ensnare victims with unprecedented ease. In the hands of skilled attacker, hacked Twitter accounts can be devastating. It’s long past time for brands to begin monitoring for suspicious behavior and potential attacks. If the first few weeks of 2016 are any indicator, security teams are in for a busy year.