By now, we have all heard about the takeover of the celebrity accounts and those of companies such as Apple and Uber by scammers who wanted to trick people into sending them bitcoins. There are multiple threads to this theory — Vice says that it was it might be some kind of inside job. Twitter itself says that it was a victim of social engineering. FBI is also starting an investigation. However, it is clear; this hack isn’t a joke. It can have national and international implications, as Casey Newton points out in his article for The Verge. Twitter is a significant source of dissemination of information — from weather to earthquakes to forest fires — and any disruption can cost lives.
That is why Casey is right — and collectively, we need to think about this current episode much more deeply and deliberately. Big technology platforms are now singular points of failure as much as they are single points of protection against malicious intent. Folks at companies such as Google, Amazon, and PayPal take this responsibility very seriously. And rightfully so. But so should everyone else — including newer converts to digital as a means of business.
If, as a company, you are working on the network and are interfacing with millions of people, who must take security much more seriously. We live in a digital world, and the pandemic has made us even more dependent on digital infrastructures. The malicious elements will continue to test the boundaries, disrupt our society, and will cause real harm in the process.
The more I think about, the companies in Silicon Valley need to harden their hiring processes and do a lot more in-depth background checks on their present and future employees. I know this goes against the ethos of Silicon Valley, but as the Twitter hack has shown, we are vulnerable at the network scale.