By Arthur Moses Opio
- Account take overs are becoming rampant and it’s not something we should take for granted.
- To mitigate the risk of Twitter account takeovers, celebrities, like any other users, should prioritize their account security.
On the 12th of July, 2023. The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja wrote on her Twitter account,
“Fellow Ugandans, Some of you have been wondering if this is my new Twitter account. Yes it is. My old Twitter account @RobinahNabbanja was tampered with & I no longer have access to it. So, please follow this account, which Twitter will verify in the coming days @OPMUganda.”
Her old Twitter account had 131,100 followers. That is a very huge following. The last tweet on that account was about her wishing merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2023 to everyone.
Account take overs are becoming rampant and it’s not something we should take for granted, whether you use twitter for fun, work, academics or business. Anyone using any social media account can get hacked.
Organisational Twitter Accounts have also become a target and a few months back in the month of May, 2023. The Parliament Twitter account which had a huge following of over 700k people was taken over by Hackers and renamed(Labisa). The twitter account of one of the Members of Parliament was taken over early during the year. It was restored to him after some time. The data shared showed that the account was being used by a hacker to spread malicious content.
Some Ugandan celebrities have also been hacked and their accounts hijacked. We shall continue to see such incidents rise.
In one of his tweets, Patrick Mukasa said,
"Disclaimer. I am not in control of my Facebook account Patrick Mukasa, my Facebook page Patrick Mukasa-Journalist and my Instagram account Patrickmukasa3 . Those accounts were hacked and I am told that the hacker has gone ahead to impersonate me. Be careful"
Patrick Mukasa then writes and says, "My new Instagram account is patrickmukasaofficial." The old one was Patrickmukasa3.
For a celebrity to share about this information on the go when accounts have been hacked is commendable because it makes the public know and warns them of engaging with the hacked account. Just like in the case of the prime minister, she also shared on her new account to ensure the public follows the right account for information.
With that being mentioned, these are some of the reasons why accounts take over happens. Most famous people like politicians, leaders, musicians, business etc. are celebrities
Celebrities' Twitter accounts are sometimes targeted for takeovers due to several reasons:
- High visibility: Celebrities have a large following on social media platforms, including Twitter, which makes their accounts attractive targets. Hackers may seek to gain access to these accounts to reach a wider audience and potentially spread malicious content or engage in scams.
- Financial gains: Celebrity accounts can be valuable assets for hackers looking to make money. They might use the compromised accounts to promote fraudulent schemes, cryptocurrency scams, or fake giveaways, tricking followers into sharing personal information or sending money.
- Publicity and attention: Taking over a celebrity's Twitter account can generate significant media attention, causing chaos and drawing public interest. This attention-seeking behavior may be motivated by a desire for notoriety, to make a political statement, or to simply disrupt and cause confusion.
- Weak security practices: Despite the increased awareness of security risks, some celebrities may not prioritize strong security measures, such as using unique and complex passwords or enabling two-factor authentication. This can make their accounts more vulnerable to hacking attempts.
- Social engineering: Hackers may employ various social engineering techniques to gain unauthorized access to celebrity accounts. This can involve impersonation, phishing attacks, or exploiting personal information obtained through other means, such as data breaches.
To mitigate the risk of Twitter account takeovers, celebrities, like any other users, should prioritize their account security. This includes using strong, unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, being cautious of phishing attempts, and regularly monitoring their account activity for any signs of unauthorised access.
A verified account can also come in handy to ensure authenticity. Fake accounts are being created Account monitoring will help one to see other fake accounts being created. Fake accounts can be created in the name of politicians, celebrities to fleece people and also share misleading information.
Example of Fake Accounts
The two current account were the Hon. Prime Minister is tweeting from is @R_Nabbanja, the Fake Account that tried to mimic her former account is having a different picture but the handle has a single letter "b" and an underscore at the end. @RobinahNabanja_ , such small differences once not noticed can make someone believe the account is legitimate yet it is not.
Find out more about the importance of Account Verification. To get a Twitter Blue tick, one has to part with 8 US dollars per month for premium subscription.