By Anastasia Forina
Even though I have Facebook and Twitter accounts, I’m not an active social media user. I usually only read what others post, rather than writing something myself.
So, I was surprised when two days before the presidential elections in Ukraine, my Twitter account was hacked. Somebody started posting weird information about elections – using my byline as a Kyiv Post reporter.
There were three tweets: one read that “mail of Ukraine’s Central Election Commission was published,” with a link to a file storage website offering to download a document. Another said, “hacker group Cyber Berkut has taken the responsibility for the intrusion into the network of the Central Election Commission.” A third tweeted a link to the hacker group’s website, posted with a tag @KyivPost.
For eight hours I couldn’t log into my account and delete the false tweets under my name. I desperately requested Twitter support service to let me change my password but it didn’t recognize my email address.
Only after dozens of unsuccessful attempts, did I finally access my account, change the password and delete the latest tweets.
I was lucky that I wasn’t active Twitter user and didn’t have many followers.
Otherwise, that hacker attack could have resulted in a big problem for me, my colleagues, my home newspaper and everybody who was reading my Twitter feed that day. The hacker was spreading falsehoods about the work of Ukraine’s Central Election Commission and damaging my and Kyiv Post’s reputation in that way.
The lesson that I learned: Twitter is not as secure as it should be.
Somebody can access to your account and tweet under your name. All you will get is a notification that your password was changed. Moreover, it takes a lot of time to recover the account. Even after you delete the tweets, they will still hang out for some period of time.
Also, Twitter support service is very slow. I only received a response to my numerous requests about a week after it was hacked.
I was thinking about deleting my account from Twitter after that situation, but decided to keep it.
In Ukraine I follow a number of politicians, institutions and other news sources – and Twitter is still the fastest way to get news bulletins from them.