Facebook Inc (FB), Twitter Inc (TWTR), and Google Warn of Government Hacks – What Next?

The popular micro-blogging site, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), recently sent emails to a small group of users warning them that their accounts may be victims of a hack by the government. According to the email, the hackers may have obtained email addresses, phone numbers, and IP addresses. In the email, Twitter advised the users to take the necessary measures to protect their accounts. They advised the users to use Tor, software that enables a user to use the internet anonymously.

As of the time the email was sent Twitter were not sure of the intention of the hack. “For now, we are not sure of the intention of the hack as we do not have any evidence that any personal information was obtained. However, we are seriously investigating the matter. If we knew more, we would have gladly shared,” the email sent by the San-Francisco-based company said.

Coldhak, a Canadian non-profit organization, posted a copy of the email they received from Twitter. Government funded hacks have been on the rise in the recent years. The most recent hack by a government was that of Sony by the North Korean government last year. The hackers attacked Sony’s computer system and obtained tons of information such as emails and close to 100 terabytes of data of a film that was yet to be released, The Interview. The film was a parody of North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un.


Similar attacks have been undertaken by the Syrian Electronic Army, a group of hacktivists who support the regime of the leader of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. The group has claimed responsibility for various cyber-attacks on several websites and Twitter accounts of companies such as BBC, CBS, NPR, the Guardian, Onion and Associated Press.

Social media sites have been the target of many hackers in the recent past. Not long ago, both Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Google have issued their users with such warnings of government funded hacks. Back in 2012, Google sent this warning to its users, “It is not possible to disclose how we have come to know of these cyber-attacks by governments. Going into the details may end up disclosing more information to these government-funded hackers. However, we have enough evidence to prove that these hacks are from state-funded hackers.”

Earlier this year in October, Facebook posted a message to the public that stated, “In the coming days, we will feed our users with information as soon as they have enough reason to believe that their accounts have been breached by these government-sponsored hackers. These notifications will be sent because these attacks are very harmful and may disclose very vital information.”

In the past, the major tech companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have been accused of allowing FBI and NSA an illegal access to users’ private data. However, these companies have denied such allegations.