TV star Ashton Kutcher may have more followers than all but 5 other people on Twitter (6,393,559) but he apparently has at least one snarky and politically minded adversary at the prestigious TED conference this week. Kutcher’s account on Twitter appears to have been compromised this afternoon, having posted two messages purportedly from someone else nearby. How excited will the stars Twitter seeks to get onboard be when they find out how easy it is for strangers to hijack their identities? Probably not very excited!
“Ashton, you’ve been Punk’d,” the first of two Tweets read. “This account is not secure. Dude, where’s my SSL?” SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a security measure that many people have called on Twitter and Facebook to enable by default. “P.S. This is for those young protesters around the world who deserve not to have their Facebook & Twitter accounts hacked like this. #SSL,” read the next message. Update: It’s been 4 hours now and it’s getting harder to believe that Kutcher hasn’t heard about this yet. He hasn’t deleted those tweets or tweeted anything else since. It’s odd.
Last Fall a program called Firesheep hit the web that made it easy for anyone to sniff out unsecured Twitter or Facebook users’ credentials on a local network. Counter-measures were quickly developed, but not everyone thinks to implement them when in public. An official switch by social network providers to SSL by default is believed by some to be the best solution, but that hasn’t happened.
Update: @TwitterGlobalPR just Tweeted, “Users can use Twitter via HTTPS: twitter.com. We’ve long been working on offering HTTPS as a user setting & will share more soon.”
The venue this occurred in is particularly humorous. TED is a world-famous conference of brainiac and wealthy do-gooder elite. Apparently one of those attendees decided to make use of Kutcher’s account to prove a point that he himself would likely agree with.
According to a profile of Kutcher in last month’s Men’s Fitness magazine, the star spends all his free time cross-training to survive the apocalypse. Hopefully he’ll be more vigilant in those circumstances, lest he fall prey to mischievous tricksters at end times, too.