Social networks |  Twitter accounts swept away by a wave of hacking

Social networks | Twitter accounts swept away by a wave of hacking

The wave of hacks on Twitter does not dry up. After many Quebec journalists, Guy A. Lepage’s turn to be deprived of his Twitter account thanks to a scammer.

At the end of the line, the facilitator accentuates his anger with some profanity. “It’s really a shitty company,” he sums it up bluntly. As of Friday, Quebec’s most followed personality on Twitter no longer has access to her 483,000 subscribers.

Worse yet, since Monday morning, a hacker has been using your name, and especially your “blue authentication hook,” to falsely sell 10 autographed MacBook computers for $550, including delivery.

“I am angry, but above all I am very sorry for the people who are going to get caught up in these rackets,” explains Guy A. Lepage. Internet users will necessarily fall for it, he believes.

The impersonation of Guy A. Lepage’s account comes after many Canadian journalists have also experienced identity theft on Twitter in recent days.

Almost 72 hours after reporting the takeover of his account, Guy A. Lepage still can’t believe the “incompetence” of the blue bird. “There must have been a game of 10 minutes between the time my account was hacked and my complaint on Twitter on Friday at the end of the day. »

Approximate response from customer service: “We will contact you in a few days. »

Guy A. Lepage does not recall performing a maneuver, for example clicking on a link, that could have led to hacking.

To create confusion

For his part, Aaron Derfel, investigative journalist for the daily Montreal Gazette behind the CHSLD scandal Herron remembers well the action that led to the theft of his Twitter account on Thursday. By private message, a “representative” of the platform told the reporter that he would lose his authentication after having “violated the community rules.”


A link supposedly led to a form to challenge the decision. A simple click and the hacker took possession of @Aaron_Derfel. “Recently, Elon Musk talked a lot about fraudulent accounts, the sale of blue hooks, the removal of robots, the journalist points out. When I got the message, I thought: OK, follow the line of Elon Musk. I think hackers are taking advantage of the confusion you’ve caused. »

It didn’t take long for Mr. Derfel to receive this ransom message on his iPhone: “Hi Aaron, I want to sell you your Twitter account.” The hacker also sent tons of private messages among the journalist’s 31,000 subscribers, phishing them in turn. Derfel’s complaints to Twitter last Thursday went unheeded.

Through him or not, his colleague’s account of Montreal Gazette, Bill Brownstein, as well as those of journalists Hannah Thibedeau of CBC News and Catherine Gauthier of Radio-Canada also fell into the hands of hackers. “I apologize to all the people who follow me if their account has been hacked because of me,” said Mr. Derfel.

Like other media personalities, the journalist, (re)known for his Twitter threads on the COVID-19 pandemic, was able to find his avatar on Monday. Meanwhile, he had opened a new temporary account. “The irony is that after being hacked, the real me didn’t have a blue checkmark and the fake me did,” says the man who quickly strengthened his security settings.

Lack of resources ?

In early November, the contractor behind SpaceX and Tesla laid off roughly half of Twitter’s employees worldwide. “There was hacking before, Mr. Derfel points out, but I think the fact that Elon Musk did layoffs makes the platform much less secure. »

According to the journalist from Montreal Gazette, Twitter and its leaders face legal action. “With a site of a certain age that involves several coders, the transfer can be complicated,” says Nadia Seraiocco, a professor at the UQAM School of Media. “We are in something of a perfect storm in terms of security, with positions that have not been filled. »

According to the digital identity specialist, the recent series of hacks could be related to the leak of personal data of some 5.4 million Twitter users. This data was allegedly stolen in December 2021 due to a security breach, according to the Bleeping Computer site, but it was only released for free on a hacker forum late last November.

METERme Seraiocco suggests that Twitter users change their password to multi-factor authentication.

Guy A. Lepage, impotent, afraid of giving up his massive network of subscribers forever, making many jealous? Little Silence: “Honestly, I don’t give a damn. I am completely disappointed with Twitter. Not because of the interesting people I have been with for 10 years, but because of the kind of propaganda, because of the threats: I have arrested many people. I am extremely poorly served, extremely disappointed in the service of this company. »

Whether or not he finds his crown, Quebec’s king of Twitter risks being more discreet, if not quiet. “When I lose confidence in an institution, it is very difficult to recover it. I’m not good at this. »

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