Last Wednesday morning, several high-profile Twitter accounts suddenly posted swastikas along with tweets revolving around Nazis. As it turns out, the shocking tweets were caused by a third-party app, which was possibly hacked.
While the Nazi-related tweets exploded by Wednesday, this was not the first incident. According to Gizmodo, there were already Tweets referring to "Nazi Holland" and "Nazi Germany" last Tuesday morning. The affected accounts were very high-profile which included the Atlanta Police Department, European Parliament, Amnesty International, BBC North America, and Forbes.
The tweets posted by the hacking revolve around the remarks made by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey. The issue was related to Netherland's move to block Turkey's foreign minister from gaining entry to the country. This infuriated the Turkish president and commented that Netherlands is a "Nazi remnant."
After a thorough review of the system, the cause of the hackings was a third-party app known as Twitter Counter. It's an app that provides the user vital analytics related to their Twitter account.
These days, there are plenty of apps that are built on popular social media platforms. If you use such apps, you will have to give them permission for some activities. In this case, it is highly probable that the users gave Twitter Counter permission to send Tweets. In most cases, the users don't know that this is happening as they would automatically give permission without checking the fine print.
The good news is that Twitter itself doesn't appear to be compromised. According to a statement given by Twitter, they noticed the hacking around Wednesday morning. Twitter immediately assigned teams to work on the problem. It wasn't too long before Twitter realized that the source of the problem was a third-party app. Once located, Twitter retracted the app's permission immediately. Twitter added that this contained the problem.
The popular third-party app Twitter Counter also released a statement. They said that they are already aware of the hacking situation. They have directed a lot of resources to investigate the matter. They also added that even before the investigation started, they already took systematic measures to contain the problem. As of the right now, the Twitter Counter application is blocked from changing any Twitter app key and posting tweets.
The users of the application are urged to keep their accounts secure. For example, don't give permissions to unknown third-party apps, especially the ones that don't come from official channels like the App Store or Play Store. Experts also advise that you check permissions before granting. Be especially aware of a request that doesn't seem to be related to the app's purpose. For example, a business calculator that wants permission to access your mobile device’s camera. The number of apps available is growing at a rapid pace.
As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult for App Store and Play Store to monitor all of them. Hence, it's time for users to be more careful about the security of their devices.