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The Resource Center Online Security Issues & Protection | article

How One Journalist Had His Twitter Account Used Against Him

People are more connected to one another, as social media and new technology make the world smaller every day. The  programs and devices we use everyday have the ability to communicate with each other and share our personal information.

Tech journalist, Mat Honan from Wired magazine knows all about this stuff, since he has devoted his career to covering new technology. The very products that supplied him with a livelihood aided thieves in stealing Honan’s identity.

In a Matter of Minutes, Identity Stolen

In his own words, on August 3, 2012, Honan’s “entire digital life was destroyed” in the span of an hour, according to a story he wrote for the magazine.

The digital attack on Honan’s identity began when he was playing with his daughter and noticed his cell phone had died. He didn’t think much of it, until he plugged the phone back into his computer to backup the files and was prompted by the program to enter a four-digit pin.

The Hack Begins

Having never had a four-digit pin, and being told that his login information was false, Honan realized something was wrong. Honan contacted AppleCare, as he assumed that he was being hacked and that they would be able to help him.

As they talked Honan through steps to regain access to his accounts, a domino effect of destruction unfolded across his hardware and software that resulted in the hackers erasing all the storage in his cloud-based Mac equipment, as well as successfully banning him from all of his important accounts.

Social Media Held The Answers

The hackers ultimately took over Honan’s Twitter account. He soon realized this was the hackers goal, as they used his popular account to send out status updates that his many followers could see.

These hackers seemed to gain access to everything Honan had stored on his computer easily, including all of the pictures he had taken over the course of his daughters first year.

Had they taken any personal information that he had stored on his computer and used it to do more than just hijack Honan’s Twitter account, the hackers could have easily used it to destroy Honan’s credit score.