Twitter Poses a National Security Threat…Just say no

As social media platforms continue to evolve with new platforms such as Pander making their grand entrance, the original intent of sites like MySpace, and even Facebook, have long since vanished.

Primarily designed for friends and families to connect with one another, share photos, exchange favorite songs, and talk about their day, social media has developed a dark side.

Facebook pits friends against friends in heated political debates as users pound their keyboards to express their all too often ill-informed views. And it more often than not leaves those involved wondering how they could have ever been friends in the first place.

Some social media users feel it necessary to reveal every single facet of their life to the general public, who in turn, feel the necessity to openly judge them harshly for doing so.

Twitter, in contrast to Facebook, limits a person’s character count, preventing users from fully expressing their rage with useless words. Because of this, Twitter attracts a more serious-minded crowd, generally from the political realm.

Almost every major political pundit, including AOC, Schumer, Barr, Don Jr., and of course his father, President Donald J. Trump, daily tweet their approval and/or disapproval of one another as they aim virtual daggers at their intended targets.

With nearly every high figure politician and business leader expressing their thoughts on Twitter, and feeling safe in doing so, they may want to reevaluate those thoughts.

Hackers, very recently, found ways to infiltrate the security walls of Twitter. They went straight to the highest-profile accounts and began tweeting from them as though they were the owners of those accounts. They successfully tapped into the accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk.

Altogether, 130 Twitter accounts were targeted, and the hackers hit the bullseye on 45 of them. Gaining access allowed them to change passwords and tweet on behalf of the actual account owner.

In 36 cases they were able to gain access to private communications intended only for the recipients of the message to see, and some of these direct messages included delicate information not intended for public viewing. An elected official in the Netherlands fell victim to one such hack.

Hackers also managed to walk away with $120,000, prior to being caught, by convincing users to donate to causes which in actuality did not exist.

Reuters, upon investigating Twitter’s business methods, revealed that at least 1000 Twitter employees and outside contractors had full access to the tools enabling them to break into any Twitter account they needed to, or wanted to.

If the money or the incentive to hand these tools over is attractive enough, it should come as no surprise that an employee would willingly make the exchange. Especially lower level underpaid employees who could use a little extra jingle in their pockets, and this is how the hackers got in.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see how Twitter raises a red flag as a national security threat. Imagine hackers breaking into the account of the President of the United States and reading all of the private communication between him and other world leaders. It’s a frightening thought, and it could easily become a reality.

Besides private communication, there is even more to consider. A single tweet from Donald Trump has been known to send stocks tumbling. Now imagine what a hackers tweet might do if they were to manipulate his account and blast out false information concerning the trade war with China. They could very easily crash Wall Street.

Or, imagine if the account of Jeff Bezos tweeted his intent to step down from his position at Amazon. Wall Street would tumble as the hackers became billionaires from manipulating the market in their favor.

Every world leader uses Twitter and a single tweet can, and has, caused major diplomatic issues. In short, Twitter poses a national security threat that must be dealt with.

There are many things the platform could do such as vetting a smaller number of employees who have access to the important tools, or by improving their in-place security standards with 24/7 monitoring. But the question remains. Will they? This remains to be seen.

In the interim, perhaps it would be best for world leaders and other high profile individuals to consider shutting down their accounts and finding new and better ways to communicate with one another.

Twitter. Just say no.