Internet security in the world of social media is a huge issue. The social media giants are trying to develop the best methods for making their services safe for users.
Most notably, Twitter announced that it is suspending its text messaging service to prevent hackers from taking over an innocent party’s account because of two eye-catching intrusions. News about the suspension came last Wednesday, shortly after hackers briefly hacked actress Chloe Grace Moretz’s account. Infiltrators tweeted several insane news posts including one that began with a series of memes featuring an obese Bugs Bunny. Twitter temporarily disabled the tweeting feature via SMS or text message to protect her account.
This came a week after the hack that really got the company’s attention, the one in which Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey’s account was hijacked. In his case the hackers took the opportunity to convey racist and misogynistic comments to his four million followers.
Both accounts were restored shortly after the errant tweets were deleted.
Twitter explained that the phone number associated with the accounts had been compromised due to a security check by a mobile service provider. It turns out that Twitter’s SMS feature allows users, whose phone number is linked to an account, to post tweets by sending a text message to a code associated with their mobile service provider. This allows hackers, who have successfully stolen numbers from a wireless service provider, to send tweets by text message from the compromised phone number. According to Twitter, the security team is working to secure the feature and re-enable it as soon as it’s safe.
In light of these public embarrassments, Twitter has recently introduced a number of new tools intended to make the platform more secure; these include a new filter that sorts messages that may contain offensive content into a separate inbox and a new moderation policy to examine posts that are reported to the platform for targeting specific religious groups. These big name hacks and the $170 million fine imposed on Google for failing to protect the privacy of children has awakened many tech giants to the understanding that user safety is essential to their bottom line.