Home >Opinion >Quick Edit >Unmasking the Twitter hacker offers only cold comfort
The teenager alleged to have hacked Twitter accounts on 15 July has been nabbed (Bloomberg)
The teenager alleged to have hacked Twitter accounts on 15 July has been nabbed (Bloomberg)

Unmasking the Twitter hacker offers only cold comfort

  • Police in the US have nabbed a 17-year-old for hacking the accounts of a bunch of famous people last month. The incident shows how dangerous it is for world leaders to use Twitter as an official megaphone

The face behind the sensational breach of several high-profile Twitter accounts on 15 July has just been uncovered. Police have arrested Graham Ivan Clark, 17, in Tampa, Florida. He is reportedly being charged as an adult and faces 30 felonies. Reports suggest that Clark was initiated to the world of digital foul play quite early, through a popular video game called Minecraft, and he soon graduated to scamming people online, joining a forum of hackers and swindling people of Bitcoin worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Clark used a variety of “cool" aliases on digital platforms, ensnaring people to part with their money, pictures and vital information. He spent much of his time online as an escape from a dysfunctional family and was living alone in a condominium complex when he was arrested. Crime and broken families display a correlation, but that’s not the point. The real issue at hand is the vulnerability of digital platforms.

It’s amazing how the security systems of one of America’s most fancied companies could so easily be breached. Twitter being so badly exposed ought to have sent shockwaves across its user base, not least in America, where President Donald Trump—whose account escaped Clark—uses the platform to signal US policy intent. But now that Clark has been nabbed, most users will probably go back to online life as usual. They should not. While social media tools are convenient, they should not be used for matters of high business or State sensitivity. One shudders to think of the power a rogue hacker or terrorist could wield by gaining control of an important account.

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