Feeds

Red peril paranoia hits Twitter

Allegations fly of state-sponsored hack to silence dissent during Party Congress

Website security in corporate America

China watchers put two and two together and made five yesterday after pointing fingers at Chinese state-sponsored hackers whom they suspected of trying to break into their Twitter accounts.

Several high profile Tweeters from academia, media and elsewhere began suspecting foul play after having their passwords reset and receiving an email with the following message:

Twitter believes that your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter.

Noting that fellow “China watchers” had reported similar, several began to suspect the hand of the Chinese authorities.

Some of the accounts compromised included those of Hong Kong university’s China Media Project – an account monitoring censorship in the PRC – and WSJ reported Mei Fong.

“Wow, my Twitter account just got hacked. Party Congresses are such fun,” wrote another – Tsinghua University professor Patrick Chovanec.

Paranoia is high at the moment, especially for those tweeting from within the Great Firewall, because the Communist Party is currently holding its 18th National Congress – a glorified PR event at the end of which this year the Party will unveil its new leadership team for the next decade.

Such politically sensitive events are stage managed down to the last detail and usually come with an internet health warning as online censors step up their propaganda drive.

In the run up to this year’s Congress there have been outages of major foreign web sites, service interruptions and even an increase in blockages reported by VPN companies, the Wall Street Journal said.

Virtual Private Networks are the main route by which information-hungry China dwellers can bypass the Great Firewall and reach usually restricted content.

Although it is not known who the culprit of yesterday’s mass hack attempt was, it later emerged that the attack did not solely affect China watchers.

A Twitter balls-up actually turned it into a more widespread problem than it needed to be in the end after also resetting some accounts that hadn’t been compromised. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Blood-crazed Microsoft axes Trustworthy Computing Group
Security be not a dirty word, me Satya. But crevice, bigod...
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.