Third-party Twitter app hijack caused high-profile accounts to spread swastikas

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Several hundred Twitter users were hacked early Wednesday morning amid heightened diplomatic tensions between Turkey, Germany, and the Netherlands.

According to Gizmodo, hijacked accounts – from Forbes to UNICEF to Duke University – published tweets that included swastikas, the hashtags (translated from Turkish) “NaziGermany” and “NaziHolland”, and a link to a pro-Erdogan video on YouTube. The tweets also reference April 16 –  the date when Turkish voters decide whether to give President Erdoğan greater powers.

The location of the company linked to the hacks isn’t lost on anyone, as seized tweets are connected to North Holland-based analytics app Twitter Counter.

The attack comes after Dutch officials prohibited Turkish ministers from speaking at a rally in Rotterdam, following which President Erdoğan condemned the Dutch government for “acting like Nazi remnants“. Erdoğan also accused Germany of “behaving like Nazis” after that government banned Turkish rallies ahead of the referendum.

In a comment to TNW, Twitter Counter CEO Omer Ginor said, “For now, the situation is contained both on Twitter’s side and on ours.” In fact, most affected accounts already appear to have regained access.

While the third-party app acknowledges the hack, Ginor states that “currently there would be no way for the attackers to use our app for spam or any other activity,” and that the company is “finalizing a security upgrade… to further decrease chances of abuse or recurrence.”

Unfortunately this isn’t the first breach for the company. A previous Twitter Counter hijack in November 2016 caused some high-profile accounts to tweet out spam.


Disclosure: Twitter Counter and TNW were founded by the same individuals. They are also shareholders in both companies. 

Hundreds of Twitter accounts hacked with swastikas through third party app 'Twitter Counter' on Gizmodo

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