Naoki Hiroshima has been a Twitter user under the handle “@N” since 2007. Apparently, this is a well sought-after screen name and Hiroshima has been contacted for years by people begging him to give up or sell his username. Someone even offered him $50,000 for his twitter name, which he declined. One computer hacker was determined to obtain the name at all costs. Using an elaborate scheme to trick a PayPal employee into divulging personal information about Hiroshima, he gained access to his Go Daddy account, and through this was able to commandeer his email and website, holding them hostage until Hiroshima relinquished the username.
Thankfully, all this hacker wanted was a screen name and not money or classified information. It’s very scary to think that with a couple phone calls, and a decent amount of computer skills, someone can have access to all of your online accounts, from Facebook, to online banking. With constantly growing technologies, online security is increasingly important. PayPal and Go Daddy are both denying any fault in the situation, though investigators are looking further into the details of the hack. If no one can admit responsibility, this is setting an example for any potential hacker that if they trick enough people, no one will want to admit fault and they can get away with anything. Who can be held accountable for Hiroshima’s potential losses? If Twitter were to attempt to solve the problem, and restore the account to Hiroshima, what would stop the hacker from a repeat performance? Is there any way to guarantee secure online usage, or are we always vulnerable to a cyber attack? It will be interesting to see what will come of this.