Twitter CEO’s account hacked, offensive tweets posted

Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey interacting with students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi on November 12, 2018. (AFP file photo)
Updated 31 August 2019

Twitter CEO’s account hacked, offensive tweets posted

  • The messages contained racial epithets, and included a retweet of a message supporting Nazi Germany
  • Twitter blames the mobile phone provider associated with Dorsey's phone number for the "security oversight"

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter said Friday the account of chief executive Jack Dorsey had been “compromised” after a series of erratic and offensive messages were posted.
The tweets containing racial slurs and suggestions about a bomb showed up around 2000 GMT on the @jack account of the founder of the short messaging service before being deleted.
Some of the tweets contained the hashtag #ChucklingSquad, which was believed to indicate the identity of the hacker group. The same calling card was left behind during recent hacks of other high-profile social media personalities.
The messages contained racial epithets, and included a retweet of a message supporting Nazi Germany.
Twitter said that the phone number associated with Dorsey’s account was “compromised due to a security oversight by the mobile provider,” allowing a hacker to posts tweets to @jack by sending text messages.
Dorsey’s account has been secured and there was “no indication that Twitter’s systems have been compromised,” according to the San Francisco-based Internet firm.
It appeared that tweets posted on Dorsey’s account by the hacker were up for about a half-hour before they were removed.
Pinned atop Dorsey’s account was a tweet from early last year saying: “We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation, and to hold ourselves publicly accountable toward progress.”
A barrage of comments fired off on the platform questioned why the Twitter co-founder didn’t secure his account better, and how disturbing a sign it was that the service couldn’t keep its own chief safe on the platform.
“If you can’t protect Jack, you can’t protect... jack,” one Twitter user quipped.

“It’s fundamentally an act of petty vandalism; the equivalent of spray painting a billboard above Twitter HQ.”

E. David Edelman, director at MIT

The news comes with Dorsey and Twitter moving aggressively to clean up offensive and inappropriate content as part of a focus on “safety.”
“This might be the only way to get rid of racist tweets on this platform,” a Twitter user commented.

Two-factor authentication
British-based security consultant Graham Cluley said the incident highlighted the importance of two-factor authentication, where a user must confirm the account via an external service.
Cluley advised people to make sure they use two-factor authentication and check which applications are linked to their accounts.
“While it looks bad, it’s important to remember this is not some state-grade hack,” said R. David Edelman, director of technology, economy, and national security project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“It’s fundamentally an act of petty vandalism; the equivalent of spray painting a billboard above Twitter HQ.”
Cybersecurity researcher Kevin Beaumont said the account appeared to have been hijacked “via a third party called Cloudhopper, which Twitter acquired about 10 years ago and had access to his account.”
Cloudhopper enables users to send tweets on their phones via SMS.
“While it’s tempting to laugh at the irony of it, the real-world consequences don’t make it funny,” University of Hartford communications professor Adam Chiara said of Dorsey’s account being hacked.
“Twitter can tell us that they are becoming more diligent with our privacy and security, but actions speak louder than words.”
The incident raised fresh concerns about how social media users — even prominent ones — can have their accounts compromised and used for misinformation, a point highlighted by Canadian member of parliament Michelle Rempel Garner.
“Between bots, trolls and abuse, I’ve been skeptical about @Twitter as a viable platform for some time now,” Rempel Garner wrote.
“But the fact it took the platform’s owner (@jack) about 30 min to get his hacked account under control is deeply problematic, and makes me worry as an elected official.”


Palestinian journalists protest wounding of colleague

Updated 17 November 2019

Palestinian journalists protest wounding of colleague

  • Muath Amarneh has been in an Israeli hospital since he was hit in the eye Friday during clashes
  • Dozens of Palestinian journalists rallied Sunday with one eye covered in solidarity

JERUSALEM: “The eyes of truth will never be blinded,” protesters’ placards read, as Palestinian journalists wore eye patches Sunday to decry the wounding of a colleague in the occupied West Bank.
Muath Amarneh has been in an Israeli hospital since he was hit in the eye Friday during clashes between Israeli border police and Palestinian demonstrators in the village of Surif, close to Hebron in the southern West Bank.
Dozens of Palestinian journalists rallied Sunday — protesting with one eye covered in solidarity.
Amarneh, who is being treated in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, said he was some way from the protesters when he was hit by what he believes was Israeli fire.
“After the clashes started, I was standing to the side wearing a flak jacket with press markings and a helmet,” the freelance cameraman told AFP on Sunday.
“Suddenly I felt something hit my eye, I thought it was a rubber bullet or a stone. I put my hand to my eye and found nothing.”
“I couldn’t see and my eye was completely gone.”
He said doctors at the hospital told him a fragment of metal, about 2 centimeters long, pierced the eye and settled behind it near the brain.
Amarneh’s cousin Tareq, accompanying him in hospital, said doctors planned to extract the metal but changed their minds after discovering they could also damage the right eye or even trigger bleeding in the brain.
A spokesman for the Israeli police denied that the photographer was targeted, saying fire was “not directed at all” toward him.
“The security forces operated in the area in front of dozens of rioters, some of them masked, who threw stones at officers and burned tires,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
“The response by the forces was using non-lethal means in order to disperse the rioters.”
Amarneh, who comes from the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem, claimed he was targeted as a journalist.
“There is an unnatural and ugly targeting of journalists,” the father-of-two said.
Since the incident Palestinian journalists have launched a campaign, with protests in several cities in the West Bank.
In Bethlehem Sunday, border police dispersed a sit-in by journalists at the checkpoint north of the city, an AFP journalist said.
Demonstrators wore eye patches and held signs aloft.
Tear gas cannisters were fired by the border police, the journalist said.
Seven people were lightly wounded, according to Palestinian health officials.
In the city of Tulkarem, about 250 journalists took part in a sit-in to show solidarity, according to journalists present.
A video and photos of Amarneh spread immediately after his injury, with journalists trying to carry him with blood flowing from his left eye.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate says 60 journalists have been hit by live ammunition this year, the majority in Gaza — an enclave where violent weekly protests along the border often lead to dozens of demonstrators being wounded.