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US President’s Twitter Account Hacked; The Ethical Hacker ‘Guessed’ The Password

 

According to reports by a Dutch media, US President Donald Trump's Twitter account was purportedly hacked, after a Dutch researcher accurately speculated the president's password: "maga2020!"

De Volkskrant, a Dutch daily morning newspaper revealed, the ethical hacker and security researcher Victor Gevers had been able to access Trump's direct messages, post tweets in his name and even change his profile. 

A Twitter spokesperson however has denied this hack, in a statement, they stated, "We’ve seen no evidence to corroborate this claim, including from the article published in the Netherlands today. We proactively implemented account security measures for a designated group of high-profile, election-related Twitter accounts in the United States, including federal branches of government." 

Jack Mannino, CEO at nVisium, a Falls Church, Virginia-based application security provider, explains, “A security-savvy team would assume that these controls were important and would likely opt to use a strong password as well as MFA to reduce the likelihood of account takeover attacks. However, in the event users of the account opted for convenience over safety, it is not Twitter's responsibility to force people to pick strong passwords or to implement the security features they offer to users. Twitter's job is to offer a secure platform and strong security features, which they do. If people are unable to convince the President to wear a mask during a pandemic, it's unlikely they could force him to use a strong password.” 

Supposedly gaining access to Trump's Twitter implied that Gevers was suddenly able to associate with all of Trump's followers i.e. approximately 87 million users as per De Volkskrant's story. 

He had attempted multiple times before utilizing the "correct" password, says, “I expected to be blocked after four failed attempts. Or at least would be asked to provide additional information.” 

Gevers revealed to De Volkskrant that President Trump was not utilizing fundamental safety measures, like the multifaceted authentication. 

As indicated by the news report, Gevers frantically reached out to Donald Trump to caution him, which ended up being a rather impossible task. Remarkably though, Gevers along two other Dutch ethical hackers had likewise hacked Trump's record somewhere four years back.

In those days Trump's password was "your fired", which according to VN news, was his 'catchphrase' from the reality television show that brought him half the popularity that he has today, before his election, The Apprentice.

Microsoft Confirms Cyber-Attacks on Biden and Trump Campaigns

Microsoft reports breaching of email accounts belonging to individuals associated with the Biden and Trump election campaigns by Chinese, Iranian, and Russian state-sponsored hackers. 

Tom Burt, Corporate VP for Customer Security and Trust at Microsoft, revealed the occurrences in a detailed blog post after Reuters announced about a portion of the Russian attacks against the Biden camp. 

"Most of these assaults" were recognized and blocked, which is what he added later and revealed in the blog post with respect to the additional attacks and furthermore affirmed a DNI report from August that asserted that Chinese and Iranian hackers were likewise focusing on the US election process.

 As indicated by Microsoft, the attacks conducted by Russian hackers were connected back to a group that the organization has been tracking under the name of Strontium and the cybersecurity industry as APT28 or Fancy Bear. 

 While Strontium generally carried out the spear-phishing email attacks, as of late, the group has been utilizing 'brute-force' and password spraying techniques as an integral technique to breaching accounts. 

Then again, the attacks by Iranian hackers originated from a group tracked as Phosphorous (APT35, Charming Kitten, and the Ajax Security Group). 

These attacks are a continuation of a campaign that began a year ago, and which Microsoft recognized and cautioned about in October 2019. At that point, Microsoft cautioned that the hackers focused on "a 2020 US presidential campaign" yet didn't name which one. 

Through some open-source detective work, a few individuals from the security community later linked the attacks to the Trump campaign. 

What's more, only a couple of days back Microsoft affirmed that the attacks are indeed focused on the Trump campaign, yet in addition unveiled a new activity identified with the said group. The attacks were likewise identified by Chinese groups. 

While presently there are several hacking groups that are assumed to work under orders and the security of the Chinese government, Microsoft said that the attacks focusing on US campaigns originated from a group known as Zirconium (APT31), which is a similar group that Google spotted not long ago, in June. 

Microsoft says it detected thousands of attacks coordinated by this group between March 2020 and September 2020, with the hackers accessing almost some 150 accounts during that time period.


TikTok Files Lawsuit Against the U.S. Government Over Ban of Its Application


Tiktok has confirmed that it is going to sue the U.S. government for banning the use of Tiktok application in the United States. However, the Lawsuit will not ensure the Chinese company's future in the U.S. market even if it wins. The company claims that it has been trying to agree with Donald Trump administration's concerns and has been trying to reach a consensus for one year. Instead of entering a general agreement, the U.S. government is not paying attention to this issue, says TikTok. According to the company, the administration is not willing to offer any opportunities to resolve the problems.


Reuter reports, "it was not immediately clear which court TikTok plans to file its lawsuit. The company had previously said it was exploring its legal options, and its employees were also preparing their own lawsuit. While TikTok is best known for its anodyne videos of people dancing and going viral among teenagers, U.S. officials have expressed concerns that information on users could be passed on to China's communist government."

Tiktok says that to safeguard fair treatment of its users' and justice, it has no other option than to challenge the Trump administration in the court. Earlier this month, Trump had banned financial dealings with Tiktok, owned by ByteDance and WeChat, owned by Tencent. According to him, these Chinese apps could be a threat to U.S. national security, economy, and trade affairs. According to the administration, TikTok stores a large amount of user data, including internet usage, browser history, network data, and location.

The Chinese Communist Party can exploit this data and use it for extortion purposes, blackmail, cyberattacks, and even espionage acts. "TikTok did not specify which court it planned to tap for its lawsuit, but this move would not stop the company from being compelled to relinquish its U.S. operations, which was laid out under Trump's second executive order issued on August 14 and was not subject to judicial review," reports ZDNet. In response, TikTok says that it modified its user policies to deal with the issue, bringing new measures to prevent misinformation and ensure user privacy.

Facebook Struggles Against Hate Speech and Misinformation, Fails to Take Actions


In the last month, FB CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others met with civil rights activists to discuss FB's way of dealing with the rising hate speeches on the platform. The activists were not too happy about Facebook's failure to deal with hate speeches and misinformation. As it seems, the civil rights group took an 'advertising boycott' action against the social media giant and expressed their stark criticism. According to these civil groups, they have had enough with Mark Zuckerberg's incompetency to deal with white supremacy, propaganda, and voters suppression on FB.


This move to boycott Facebook came as a response to Donald Trump's recent statement on FB. Trump said that anti-racism protesters should be treated with physical violence, and he also spread misinformation about mail-in voting. FB, however, denies these allegations, saying these posts didn't violate community policies. Even after such incidents, the company ensures that everything's alright, and it just needs to toughen up its enforcement actions.

"Facebook stands firmly against hate. Being a platform where everyone can make their voice heard is core to our mission, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable for people to spread hate. It's not. We have clear policies against hatred – and we constantly strive to get better and faster at enforcing them. We have made real progress over the years, but this work is never finished, and we know what a big responsibility Facebook has to get better at finding and removing hateful content." "Later this morning, Mark and I, alongside our team, are meeting with the organizers of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign followed by a meeting with other civil rights leaders who have worked closely with us on our efforts to address civil rights," said COO Sheryl Sandberg in her FB post.

In another incident, FB refused to take action against T. Raja Singh, an Indian politician from BJP. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company didn't apply its hate speech policies on Raja's Islamophobic remarks. FB employees admitted that the politicians' statements were enough to terminate his FB account. The company refused to, as according to the FB executive in India, could hurt FB's business in India.