Hacking to Silence Opposing View

Over the weekend, an incident at Twitter seriously spooked me and made me wonder about the micro blogging giant’s security holes and also the mob mentality certain people get into when someone put forth an opposing view.

It all started when a Nepali tweep got into friendly and casual discussion on Nepal, India and China, with some Indian tweeps. As things got a little testy, his Twitter account was hacked and the hackers gloated about it by posting message in Hindi, warning him not to challenge them again. There is no way to find out who exactly did it, but it is pretty clear that someone participating in the discussion or following it was involved.

It is a shame when platform like Twitter, which allow people from different parts of the world to communicate and share, and get to know each other better are abused in this way. When you get into a discussion on Twitter, getting your account hacked is not what people expect. Mob mentality of descending into lowest possible behavior to evade civilized discussion is deplorable.

What these hackers did is a shame, Twitter’s security is also a shame. Reuters recently reported on Twitter’s security holes,

“Security experts said the attack might have been prevented if Twitter had offered two-factor authentication technology to secure its accounts.


In two-factor authentication systems, a user must enter a second code in addition to a fixed password to access its account. The code changes every minute or so and is sent to a cell phone or other electronic device.


Google Inc and FaceBook already offer two-factor authentication to confirm the identity of users.”


The attack being referred here is the attack on Fox News’s Twitter account. The hackers later sent alarming news about President Obama through the account.

Securing Twitter will not cure some people of their immaturity but it will definitely safeguard users, like this Nepali tweep. It will also be a plus for Twitter, PR nightmare of high profile hacking and spammers running amok is not good for the company’s health.


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