For anyone using the Internet, but particularly for older people who are often the target of hackers and cyber criminals, it is important to deal with reputable organisations for security and information. A very high profile case from July 2020 demonstrates how easy, and even damaging, being too trustworthy can be.
The facts of the case weren’t necessarily that spectacular. That is until the names of those involved in the ‘hack attack’ were revealed. When names like Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk make the headlines it is a big story on anyone’s terms. All the more so as clearly wealth and power are no protection from a ‘hack attack’.
Given the big names involved there might be a tendency to think this level of hacking is someone else’s problem. As in ‘this will never happen to me.’ In fact, this is a major revelation and wake up call for anyone who uses the Internet for anything. Again, for older people, two questions should be safely and satisfactorily answered.
Is security really that secure and trustworthy? Equally, is the information that appears on the Internet reliable, factual, credible, and most importantly safe?
The Great Twitter Hack of 2020 broke with the revelation that some very high profile Twitter accounts had been taken over by a group of what was described as only ‘moderately’ skilled hackers. With the ‘ringleader’ of the raiding party 17 years old at the time.
Two red lights of concern started flashing. How could an IT giant like Twitter have their security breached? The bigger worry was the degree of faith and misplaced trust that people have in social media. A guiding rule is this: If it seems implausible or too good to be true it probably is.
This is how the Twitter hack story unfolded. On July 15 2020, followers of Jeff Bezos on Twitter saw an unusual tweet from the world’s richest man. Bezos is regarded as a shrewd businessman and the company he leads, Amazon, is a global economic superpower. To most it seemed jarringly out of character that such a person would post the following bizarre tweet (a posting on Twitter): “I have decided to give back to my community. All Bitcoin sent to my address below will be sent back doubled. I am only doing a maximum of $50,000,000.”
The Internet hosts all sorts of non-factual information including opinions, false news and outright lies. Just because it appears to be credible it is not necessarily so.
If a ‘normal’ person received this kind of message in an email, they would probably disregard it as one of those offers that has to be a scam. Particularly on the ‘common sense’ principle of being too good to be true. With Bezos’s name linked to it, however, it gained authenticity. That is why people did fall for the scam and did send bitcoin to the scammers behind this hack. In short while the Amazon founder might be trustworthy and pass the scrutiny, the cybersecurity systems at Twitter were anything but.