Anyone who has gone out to lunch, only to come back and find that their fellow workers have posted a bogus Facebook status or twitter update; read on.
Having your social media account “hacked” by friends and colleagues is the modern day equivalent of posting a Kick Me sign on someone’s back – providing hilarious entertainment for those looking on and endless frustration for those on the receiving end.
But apart from some harmless high jinx; a number of more high-profile cases of identity hacking have made the headlines in recent years, as well as causing embarrassment and awkwardness for many a well known face.
So don’t call-in your IT support company just yet – start looking around for those who may have a reason to see you humiliated publically!
1. Website exposes Michelle Obama’s particulars
According to entertainment news website TMZ, the First Lady’s credit report, along with her social security number, phone number and credit card information appeared on the website Exposed.su. According to TMZ Mrs Obama was one of 12 well known figures exposed, including Jay-Z, Beyonce and Paris Hilton.
2. Email hack leaves Scarlet Johansson red faced
A few of the superstar’s most private secrets were laid bare after her email account was hacked by a Florida prankster Christopher Chainey. Making good use of the “Forgotten your password?” feature; Chainey managed to negotiate a number of security questions, including the fact that he was able to give Johansson’s mother’s maiden name. He then used her email account to leak nude photos of the star to the press. A lesson for all of us when it comes to being a little more original with our security answers – especially if we keep nude pictures of ourselves on our computers.
3. The Sun announces its own boss is dead
In 2011 the News International websites for the Times and the Sun were taken down after hackers targeted the Sun’s web pages and redirected traffic to another page falsely reporting that Rupert Murdoch had been found dead. The story went on to announce that Murdoch had taken a mystery concoction; before being found slumped in his garden. The hacking was the work of the LulzSec collective, but ironically it was Murdoch’s News of the World paper that was closed down in 2011 after journalists were found to have hacked the voicemail accounts of some well known celebrities and politicians.
4. Hackers 1 Footballer 0
It’s a safe bet to say that footballing superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has had is fare share of advances in the past, but from former Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam?! Stating to the world his intentions (in no uncertain terms) towards the Portuguese winger on twitter; a red-faced Adam was obviously the victim of some of that famous old footballer banter when he left his phone unguarded in the changing room.
5. Burger King in Whopper of a hack storm
The rivalry between fast food giants Burger King and McDonald’s was ramped up when the BK twitter account appeared with the famous golden arches on their home page and the message: “Just got sold to McDonald’s.” There were also a list of drug references and other obscenities posted; until the company realised what was going on and suspended the site. A number of high-profile suspects were investigated, including LulzSec, but nobody claimed responsibility. Luckily for BK their rivals didn’t take it personally and said they had no beef with their bitter enemy.
6. Don’t be number 6
To ensure you are not the latest victim of a hacking scam (whether you are a “celeb” or not) there are a few simple rules you can follow to ensure your identity remains your own.
When it comes to choosing a password, don’t make it too obvious. Think of something that only you will know and more importantly; one that no one else can guess. And if you have a number of different accounts, don’t use the same one for all. This will only make it easier for any potential hacker to play havoc at your expense.
The same goes for security questions. Your mother’s maiden name is the obvious choice, but asks yourself how easy it is for people to find out that information – something Scarlet Johansson maybe should have thought about?
Don’t take your personal security for granted – make sure your identity is protected!