Twitter hacker spreads Tsunami warning from government advisor’s account

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Andi Arief
As many people have found, Twitter is a fantastic tool for spreading important news rapidly.

In the past it’s been used to share information about fires in Los Angeles, emergency landings in the Hudson River, and most recently helping aid be transported effectively to disaster stricken Indonesians.

Andi Arief is Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s disaster management adviser and a frequent user of Twitter. After a devastating spell of earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions and even a tsunami hitting the country, you can understand why some people would be following him on the micro-blogging service.

After all, Arief diligently posts up-to-date disaster-related information.

Unfortunately, Andi Arief’s Twitter account also caught the attention of hackers today, who broke into his account and started posting messages.

Perhaps the most dangerous bogus message posted from the account was a tweet which, according to local media reports, read:

Bogus tsunami tweet

Besok jakarta tsunami

which translates as “Jakarta tsunami tomorrow”.

Hacking into a Twitter account that is used for disaster relief is bad enough, but for the intruder to also spread malicious warnings makes me think that this must have been the actions of a very sick mind.

Arief struggled for some hours to get control of his account back, temporarily setting up another Twitter account to spread important information before things returned to normal.

Back to normal

Translated back to normal

(Thanks to Google for translating that for me)

It isn’t clear at this point exactly how Arief’s account was compromised but a cracked password will surely be suspected.

Remember, you should always choose a non-dictionary word that’s hard to guess as your Twitter password, and never use the same password on multiple websites.

Be on your guard against phishing sites and ensure that your computer is running up-to-date anti-virus software to protect against keylogging spyware which may attempt to steal your information.

Finally, consider carefully which third-party applications and websites you allow to connect with your Twitter account.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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