Multiple Twitter accounts of activists and journalists have been taken over by hackers, propagating untrue information. The hackers have prevented the users from taking back their accounts says nonprofit AccessNow.
This form of hacking is called “Doubleswitch”. A take-over of accounts, changing crucial information such as passwords, emails and usernames, which means that people will have trouble reclaiming their accounts.
AccessNow has also written that the hackers were disturbing and suppressing various critics, propagating false information and mistrust.
The accounts that have been targeted are from Venezuela, Bahrain, Myanmar and some other states. Activists say that they have had hard times recovering their accounts while others never got back their accounts.
Member of the parliament in Venezuela and human rights defender Miguel Pizarro and reporter Milagros Socorro suffered from this hijacking.
The hijackers spread false information rapidly making Twitter’s effort to reclaim the victim’s accounts useless.
It is still not certain how many accounts have been compromised and the attack may also spread on Instagram and Facebook. Officials say it is unclear how access was gained to the accounts, but it is known that the hijackers jeopardized the digital security hotline.
AccessNow is urging Twitter and Facebook to refurbish their security and preparing for this sort of attack. Users should also take caution and protect their accounts.
In order to secure accounts, social media companies should enable two-factor authentication, meaning that you have to enter a code that has been sent to your mobile phone to reach your account. Authy and Google Authenticator provide the similar feature, but leaving phone number is not necessary which is better for privacy reasons.
Twitter quickly addressed the Doubleswitch attack, saying that his type of hijacking is unique and they are taking extraordinary measures to protect accounts. They also advised users to read their security tips.
Facebook fears that this kind of attack may grow supports users to activate their two-factor authentication.
A Facebook employee stated that the attacks are not being underestimated and they are taking every precaution available to prevent this hijacking. They have built multiple automated systems that stop accounts from being abused. As it was said earlier Facebook promotes their two-factor authentication as a security measure.