The official Twitter account of Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, was taken over by hackers early Sunday morning before it was restored.The hackers posted what appeared to be the crescent symbols from the red and green flags of Turkey and Pakistan, respectively. A message in Turkish pinned on the hacked Twitter account of Mr Akbaruddin said, “You are hacked by the Turkish cyber army Ayyildiz Tim! We got your DM correspondence! We will show you the power of the Turk! I Love Pakistan”.
After coming online again, Mr Akbaruddin tweeted it will take more than “a hack to keep me down.”
After taking control of the diplomat’s account, the hackers changed the verified Twitter handle from ‘AkbaruddinIndia’ to ‘AkbaruddinSyed’. The change in the handle’s name immediately removed Twitter’s ‘blue tick’ that shows an account as a verified one.
The hackers continued to tweet, including a link to YouTube that showed a video of Ayyildiz Tim, a group that claims to be hackers from Turkey, and a photo of Pakistani president Mamnoon Hussain next to a photograph of the country’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
After Mr Akbaruddin’s Twitter account was restored with its original handle, the verified ‘blue tick’ also returned. “I’m back… Thanks to TwitterIndia & many others who helped,” he tweeted.
Cyber security experts have long warned against rising incidents of hacking of state-run websites and social media accounts. In 2016, at least 199 government websites were hacked in India, the Home Ministry had told parliament.
In January 2017, even the website of India’s top counter-terrorism force National Security Guards was hacked.