Remember the days when Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) ruled the Twitter roost as the most-followed (and by definition, most popular) user on the network? Kutcher will always hold a very important milestone as the first profile to reach one million followers.
Well, times change, and Kutcher is rapidly on his way out of Twitter’s top 10 most-followed accounts. Give it a few months, and he’ll be gone.
And if all that wasn’t bad enough for Ashton, now his Twitter profile has been hacked. And the exploiter’s messages have been retweeted by hundreds of people.
Kutcher, who is currently attending TED 2011, appears to have been hacked by somebody with a very firm agenda – namely, Twitter’s insistence on using non-secure encryption for user sessions. Which in plain English means that while they maintain this level of security,Â everybody is at risk of being hacked, certainly if you access Twitter whilst out and about.
As senior technology consultant (and online security maestro) Graham Cluley explains at Naked Security:
Tools such as Firesheep make it child’s play for anybody sitting close to you to jump onto your Facebook or Twitter session if you’re using unencrypted WiFi without an SSL connection, for example at a free WiFi hotspot.
Wouldn’t it be great if Twitter forced the use of HTTPS at all times? Clearly whoever hacked into Ashton Kutcher’s Twitter account feels the same.
The insecure Twitter and Facebook accounts of some celebrities offer a very tempting target for cybercriminals who may wish to spread their dangerous or spammy links to millions of followers. We should just be grateful that on this occasion the hack appears to have taken place to promote better awareness of the need for better security, rather than with more malicious intent.
8 hours later, Kutcher’s account still appears to be hacked, as the messages are intact and nobody is doing anything about it. How embarrassing, especially whilst at such a high-profile, super-intellectual think-tank as TED. And you have to wonder if this would have taken so long to repair if Ashton was still Twitter’s top dog.
(Hat tip: Graham Cluley.)