The Dangers of Phishing

Image from BBC Weather and Twitter

Image from BBC Weather and Twitter

Phishing is the act of using a fake and malicious link to lure the user into giving away private account information to a hacker. Often the user doesn’t even need to send their password to the hacker,  with a dangerous link in a tweet or email users can give up account passwords in just one click.

Basic phishing schemes are becoming more difficult for hackers as more websites add a two factor log in system. Gmail and Amazon both ofter the more secure system.  As the two factor log in system becomes the industry norm, it is even more surprising that the social networking site Twitter continues to use the single password system.   While industry sources are pointing in the direction of more complex security, twitter has yet to commit to changes in their current password system.

Twitter has been in the headlines recently for the large number of hacks a group calling themselves the Syrian Electronic Army has been committing on news agencies twitter accounts. One recent example was the group hacked the British newspaper The Telegraph. The hacked accounts were controlled through the Twitter website and proxy servers. The hacker then assumed the online identity of the twitter account holder and used the personal branding that they have cultivated against them. When the  Syrian Electronic Army hacks a Twitter account often its agenda makes the hack immediately clear.  Yet this is not always the case. When the AP News Twitter account was hacked and broadcasted false information about an attack at the White House, the Stock Market took a steep dive in what Forbes called “the priciest tweet in the world”. Twitter has become a mainstream media outlet and therefore hacking a well respected Twitter account can cause the same shock waves as legitimate breaking news.

Do the recent hacks cast Twitters credibility into question? Do you use social media as a news source? Why or why not?


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