AOL CEO Gets His Twitter Account Hacked and the Internet Responds Appropriately

October 3, 2016

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Imagine that you are the CEO of a mass media organization whose Twitter has just been hacked and was now posting 20 spam-filled tweets every second. You’ve just put yourselves in the shoes of Tim Armstrong, CEO of now-Verizon-subsidiary AOL.

The hackers responsible composed these tweets to include links, seemingly from the massive Chinese search engine Baidu, that directed to a fraudulent TMZ article that was actually an advertisement for a weight loss supplement. While this link was possibly intended to generate revenue for the hackers, it certainly generated plenty of amusement. Many observers tweeted online security advice to the CEO, “thanked” Armstrong for the recommendation, or poked fun at AOL’s precarious financial situation.

However, the first set of observers mentioned here make a good point–the CEO of an online media company should have implemented the security measures that could have potentially stopped this attack, and saved the company quite a bit of face. For example, Andrew Beaujon–senior editor of Washingtonian magazine–tweeted: “Looks like @timarmstrongaol should consider two-factor authentication on his Twitter account!”

Beaujon is absolutely right, too. Two-factor authentication is a simple method of preventing unauthorized and/or maliciously-motivated individuals from accessing online accounts that you (or your business) hold.

Armstrong’s Twitter has since been deactivated, although it is uncertain whether it was by Armstrong or by Twitter itself. Maybe next time he sets up an account, Armstrong will take some of the suggestions that were tweeted, to heart.


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