Fake Tsunami Warning on Twitter Scares Entire Nation

A hacker has caused panic in Indonesia by hijacking an official government Twitter account and posting a fake tsunami warning late last week. The hacked account was that of the Indonesian presidential adviser for disaster management, Andi Arief, which made the fake warning all the more serious. Arief has since moved his account, abandoning the compromised account to the hacker.

The Jakarta Globe reported this Twitter hacking last Thursday. Apparently, Arief’s account was used to post “Besok jakarta tsunami” which translates to “Jakarta tsunami tomorrow”.

The hacker also tweeted several politically-charged messages on Arief’s account.

Within a day of his Twitter account being hacked, Arief had opened up a new account @AndiAriefNews, which he says will become his new official account. The hacked account, @AndiAriefNew, was closed after Arief regained control.

This incident illustrates the necessity of extremely tight security around official Twitter accounts. Arief blamed himself and his “recklessness” for the hacking, which might indicate his falling victim to a phishing scam. However his account was hacked, it stands as a lesson for government and public officials to guard their Twitter passwords.

As the public follows official government accounts with a sense of trust, information posted to a hacked account is likely to be accepted as information from the official him or herself, potentially causing wide-spread panic and unrest.