Twitter Hacked: A Time of Reckoning

With just 112 days until the United States general election, Twitter was hacked!  What is known are that prominent twitter users like Barrack Obama, Democratic presumptive nominee Joe Biden, tech giants Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates’ accounts were compromised, with their passwords being reset, and fake tweets being sent. The hack was successful due to social engineering techniques to obtain Twitter supports’ user credentials to access internal systems – including bypassing multi-factor authentication.  What is more notable is who was NOT hacked: President Donald Trump.  What is also notable is that it took fake tweets to alert Twitter to the fact they were compromised.

Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, TikTok are persuasive; having the ability to change and influence opinions, particularly when focused on political views.  The simplicity and ease of social media also creates a vacuum of ideas that are never fact checked, creating an environment where deep fake and propaganda can thrive.  Protecting these communication giants are critical to our democracy, in that we are choosing our leaders based in fact and debate, not innuendo or conjecture.  It is thus more than critical that these platforms use this moment as a time of reckoning!

It is no longer ok to catch hacks like these after they occur; after the damage is done.  How is it that Artificial Intelligence security platforms are not the norm within our networks today?  Capable of detecting intrusions based on normal human behavior, and finding intruders within your network before serious damage can be done.

New technologies like Blockchain Dynamics also could be deployed to make our networks safer without making them more complex and more expensive, by putting security into the hands of the user, and not solely on the backs of providers.

While humans are the biggest attack vector and network weakness that exists, how do employees in today’s age not feel that something is odd about passing credentials through an email or phone call?  Has the trust between the front line and the security team not been established? How can we change our normal to harden our first line of defense, and ensure we work as a single unit when batting back attacks?

Twitter responded to the attack: “We’re embarrassed, we’re disappointed, and more than anything, we’re sorry.”  What they were not, was prepared!  Yes, we all make mistakes, but in today’s political climate, with probably the most important election in the United States of America’s history in a few short months, securing our communication infrastructure is the most critical job ahead of us today, even more so that finding a vaccine for COVID-19.  While finding a cure for a pathogen is critical, its affects are short term, whereas a democratic election can have ripple effects for decades, if not beyond.

As Americans, we need to decide for ourselves who should lead this country.  Talk and debate are healthy, and as a democracy we all have the right to choose who we believe will carry this country into the promise land; but disinformation hurts us all, and social media, as the carrier of that information can do better in building out and responding to security threats.

Social media has become a critical infrastructure to our daily lives, and the security technology that guards this has to be today’s top priority as we head into November.

Do you believe our communication infrastructure is ready to guard against propaganda or third-nation threats to our democracy? Leave your comment and let’s discuss.

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