Do you recognize the five people in the photo above? Besides being in the public eye on a consistent basis (celebrities?), do you know what else they have in common?
All five of them (Elon Musk, Kim Kardashian West, Jeff Bezos, Joe Biden and Bill Gates) had their Twitter accounts hacked last week. They were five of 130 targeted accounts on the social media platform that hackers went after. It was all part of a fake Bitcoin scheme.
If you don’t use Twitter, you might not find this of interest. But, hold on – don’t stop reading. The message of this post isn’t about these five individuals or the other 125 accounts involved and it isn’t really about Twitter. The purpose of this writing is to remind you of the weakest link when it comes to security on the Internet.
Let’s look at how this breach occurred. Here is a quote from Twitter’s statement about what happened:
“At this time, we believe attackers targeted certain Twitter employees through a social engineering scheme…The attackers successfully manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials to access Twitter’s internal systems, including getting through our two-factor protections.”@twittersupport
I’ve added the red color to the phrase “social engineering scheme” and to the word “manipulated” to emphasize what I’m always preaching here in our blog. Some of the most successful hacks of financial institutions, retail store chains and social media platforms have been through social engineering. This happens because people really are the weakest link when it comes to online security.
Are you still using weak passwords? Do you click to open attachments that you weren’t expecting or where you don’t even know the sender? Are you allowing people on to your device who call you on the phone or cause “virus alert” pop-ups on your computer? Are you giving out electronic checks to get your computer “cleaned up?” Remember, no matter how “smart” you are when it comes to computing, you are still the weakest link of security.