Social networks | Twitter accounts have been swept away by a wave of hacking

The wave of hacking on Twitter is not drying up. After many journalists in Quebec, Guy A. Lepage lost his Twitter account thanks to a fraudster.

At the end of the line, the facilitator vents his anger with some cursing. “It’s really a shitty company,” he sums up bluntly. As of Friday, the most followed personality in Quebec on Twitter no longer has access to its 483,000 subscribers.

To make matters worse, since Monday morning, a hacker has been using his name, and specifically his “blue authentication hook”, to falsely sell 10 autographed MacBook computers for $550, including delivery.

“I’m angry, but most of all I feel very sorry for the people who fall for these shenanigans,” explained Guy A. Lepage. Internet users are bound to fall into the trap, he believes.

The impersonation of Guy A. Lepage’s account comes after several Canadian journalists have also suffered identity theft on Twitter in recent days.

Almost 72 hours after reporting the takeover of his account, Guy A. Lepage still can’t believe the “incompetence” of the blue bird. “There must have been a 10-minute game between the moment my account was hacked and my denunciation on Twitter on Friday at the end of the day. »

Rude answer from customer service: “We’ll get back to you in a few days. »

Guy A. Lepage does not recall making a maneuver – for example clicking on a link – that could lead to piracy.

Create confusion

For his part, Aaron Derfel, investigative journalist for daily Montreal Gazette behind the CHSLD scandal Herron remembers well the action that led to the theft of his Twitter account on Thursday. Through a private message, a “representative” of the platform announced to the reporter that he would lose authentication after “violating community rules”.


A link supposedly led to a form to challenge the decision. A simple click and the hacker takes @Aaron_Derfel. “Recently, Elon Musk talked a lot about fraudulent accounts, the sale of blue hooks, the elimination of robots, the journalist said. When I received the message, I thought: OK, it’s following Elon Musk’s line. I think hackers are taking advantage of the confusion he’s caused. »

Mr. will soon receive Derfel this ransom message on his iPhone: “hi aaron, I want to sell you your twitter account”. The hacker also sent a mass of private messages to the journalist’s 31,000 subscribers, in order to phish them. The complaints of Mr. Derfel on Twitter last Thursday was ignored.

By him or not, his colleague’s account from Montreal Gazette, Bill Brownstein, as well as journalists Hannah Thibedeau, of CBC News, and Catherine Gauthier, of Radio-Canada, also fell into the hands of hackers. “I apologize to all the people who follow me if their account was hacked because of me,” said Mr. Derfel.

Like other media personalities, the journalist, (again) known for his Twitter threads on the COVID-19 pandemic, found his avatar on Monday. Meanwhile, he opened a new temporary account. “The irony is that after being hacked, the real me didn’t have a blue checkmark, and the fake me did,” said one who quickly tightened his security settings.

Lack of equipment?

In early November, the contractor behind SpaceX and Tesla laid off nearly half of Twitter’s employees worldwide. “There was hacking before, said Mr. Derfel, but I think the fact that Elon Musk made layoffs makes the platform safer. »

According to the journalist of Montreal Gazette, Twitter and its leaders are facing legal action. “On a site of a certain age that involves several coders, the handover can be confusing,” says Nadia Seraiocco, lecturer at UQAM’s School of Media. “We are in a bit of a bit of a perfect storm in terms of security, with positions that have not been filled. »

According to the digital identity specialist, the recent series of hacks can be linked to the leakage of personal data of some 5.4 million Twitter users. This data was allegedly stolen in December 2021 due to a security breach, according to the Bleeping Computer site, but it was only released for free on a hacker forum at the end of last November.

MI Seraiocco suggests that Twitter users change their password to multi-factor authentication.

Is Guy A. Lepage, powerless, afraid to finally give up his impressive network of subscribers, the envy of many? A little silence: “Honestly, I don’t care. I am completely disillusioned with Twitter. Not for the interesting people I’ve been with for 10 years, but for the kind of propaganda, for the threats – I’ve been arrested a lot. I have been very poorly served, very disappointed with this company’s service. »

Whether or not he finds his crown, the king of Twitter in Quebec risks becoming more cautious, if not quiet. “When I lose trust in an institution, it is very difficult to regain. I’m not okay with this. »

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