January 16, 2012

OMG! The @HuffingtonPost has been hacked!!

It's midnight and you're signing out of your Gmail and social media accounts and as you are about to sign out of twitter, you see some strange tweets from a very well known account.
First reaction: "Am I dreaming?"
Second reaction: "Holy shit! This can't be! The @HuffingtonPost has been hacked!!!"
Yes, the reputed internet newspaper blog 'The Huffington Post' which is read by millions and has more than 14.5 lakh twitter followers was gloriously hacked last night Indian time. I read the HuffPo (short form) for its diverse coverage and I really like their photo posts but when I saw the tweet "Sup bitches???" last night - it was a complete shocker as I've never seen the HuffPo use such a language.
And it didn't stop there, another 6 tweets (a @mention included) followed after which HuffPo regained control and in no time deleted the derogatory tweets. I've always heard about websites, emails, accounts, etc being hacked but this was the first time I was witnessing a hacked event in front of my eyes. I looked up through twitter search to see other people's reaction and everyone was shocked and amazed. I luckily captured the hackers tweets through @HuffingtonPost's timeline as shown below:

@HuffingontPost's twitter timeline after being hacked, January 16, 2012

@HuffingtonPost hacker's tweets, January 16, 2012

Now, relate these with @HuffingtonPost's real time tweets right now and you will clearly see that they never converse. HuffPo just tweet posts with links. If you're not a regular HuffPo follower, you may not be shocked at all but just imagine if it were some account you knew well or let's say if it was your own account and someone called you up to say "What are you tweeting man? Are you out of your mind?", will you not find this unusual? You will. HuffPo was a verified account, hence it seems that twitter helped it recover the account in no time but if your account gets hacked, what will you do? Cry? Crib? Shout? None of that will help.

The only way you can prevent the likelihood of someone hacking your social account is by staying a step ahead - by changing your password on a regular basis. Trust me, this is the only way for common (no-celeb) people like us. My Facebook account has witnessed two hacked attempts and I was a victim of twitter DM-spam hack. I immediately changed my password and continue to do so at regular intervals thereby negating the risk of any future hack. It does help, so don't be lazy in protecting your social accounts. Practice it as username, password and secret questions are now a part of our life.

Till then,
Do login safe,
A.

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