Hacking Twitter: cyber-security, major issue in the us presidential election

Piratage de Twitter: la cybersécurité, enjeu majeur de la présidentielle américaine

The first elements of the investigation on the hacking dramatic of which was a victim Twitter on Wednesday, pointing to a mole and can raise many questions about the integrity of the us presidential election or the security of the account of Donald Trump, who conducts his diplomacy.

A little more than three months before the election, the political influence of social networks, a subject already much debated in the United States, has become even more relevant as one of the key themes of the campaign.

Among the political personalities leading us, the accounts of the democratic candidate in the French presidential elections Joe Biden, the former democratic president Barack Obama and former New York city mayor Michael Bloomberg have been targeted by the attack Wednesday.

This piracy of great extent has led Josh Hawley, a republican senator from Missouri, addressed a letter to the boss of Twitter, asking him to shed light on this incident.

“I’m concerned about the fact that this event is not simply a coordinated series of hacker attacks distinct from each other, but rather a successful attack against the security of Twitter,” wrote the senator.

“A successful attack of the servers in your system represents a threat to the privacy and security of the data of all your users,” said Mr. Hawley, who directed the platform to turn to the ministry of Justice and the FBI.

A few hours prior to the incident of Wednesday, the oversight committee and government reform of the House of representatives had considered necessary the appointment of a head of the national cyber security.

Spectrum 2016

If the modus operandi of this latest hacking seems to be well particular, the intrusion seemed to have been initiated by an employee of Twitter, it raises the spectre of the presidential campaign of 2016, which was marred by major faults in the security of social networks, especially Facebook.

The group had been harshly criticized for having left to spread massive disinformation campaign, and not having sufficiently protected the safety of its users.

In march 2018, the scandal Cambridge Analytica and had burst. This british firm, who worked for the campaign of Donald Trump, had hacked the personal data of tens of millions of users around the world.

The giant californian has since stepped up efforts to combat manipulation attempts on its various platforms, dismantling of many of the operations of disinformation.

Twitter, for its part, took measures even more drastic in recent months, including a ban on political ads.

Diplomacy Twitter

A sign of their growing role in the american public sphere, social networks have become tools of geopolitical essential, especially in times of crisis.

“For us politicians, Twitter represents a paradox “, observes Heather Williams and Alexi Drew, who recently published a report on the diplomatic role of the platform for the Centre for Science and Security Studies King’s College London.

“On the one hand, the tweets of members of the government can help to shape the american public discourse and offer insights on the decision-making of the united states to reduce misunderstanding among the foreign players,” write the academics.

“But on the other hand, the tweets may increase the misunderstandings and confusion during the crisis, creating incentives for an opponent to raise tensions “, added Mrs Williams and Drew, who advise the political leaders to refrain from twittering in times of crisis.

The friction nuclear between the United States and North Korea, or the escalation of american-iranian after the assassination in January during a u.s. raid in the general iranian Qassem Soleimani offer prominent examples of the ambivalent role played by Twitter during international crises.

Trump spared

In each of these cases, Donald Trump has blown on the embers of the fire with blows of tweets provocative, raising fears of several observers, a rapid degradation of the situation.

Follower long-time Twitter, the tenant of the White House to use frenzied social network to broadcast without filter its messages to its 83.5 million subscribers.

In may, the platform had decided for the first time to report the publications of Mr. Trump presented as “misleading” and had warned its subscribers that they violated the rules of the site.

Interestingly, neither the personal account of the american president (@realDonalTrump) nor the official account of the president of the United States (@POTUS) have been targeted by the hacking on Wednesday.

“This is because the account of the president had been removed by a contract of Twitter several years ago, which had led the company to specifically protect”, said the former head of the security of Facebook and today associate professor at Stanford university Alex Stamos on the channel CNBC.

In November 2017, the account of Mr. Trump had indeed been suspended on purpose for a few minutes by an employee of the service “support users” of Twitter.

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