Three Takeaways From the Hack of Jack Dorsey’s Twitter Account
And how to keep it from happening to you
Hackers took over the Twitter account of Twitter’s own CEO, Jack Dorsey, for roughly 15 minutes on Friday afternoon. They tweeted a rapid-fire mishmash of boasts, shout-outs, racist slurs, and references to memes, along with a bomb threat and a call for Twitter to reinstate certain suspended accounts. Before Twitter regained control of the account and deleted the tweets, the perpetrators identified themselves as the Chuckling Squad, a group that also recently hacked a series of YouTube stars and actors.
It’s conceivable that the hackers did more than just post some offensive tweets from Dorsey’s account, but there was no immediate evidence of that on Friday. If that’s all they did, the real-world impact of this episode was probably pretty minor in the scheme of things. (This isn’t even the first time it’s happened to Dorsey.) Briefly taking over an individual’s social media account, even a high-profile one, is more like an act of petty vandalism than the sort of sophisticated hack that involves infiltrating a company’s systems or stealing people’s credit card information.
Even so, there are lessons worth paying attention to when the head of a major social media company gets victimized on his own platform. Based on the facts that were available Friday evening, here are three quick takeaways from Friday’s embarrassing hi-@jack-ing.
1. Check your Twitter app permissions. Like, nowish.
While details of the hack were still emerging Friday, the tweets from Dorsey’s account appeared to have been posted using a service called Cloudhopper. Twitter acquired a startup called Cloudhopper in 2010 that allows people to tweet from their phone via SMS, or text message, without logging into Twitter itself. If Dorsey had activated Cloudhopper at any time, that may have allowed the hackers to post from his account without having to steal his Twitter password. There were also indications that they gained access to his mobile phone number, via a technique called…