Lasts night Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter account was allegedly hacked and some obscene comments were posted from the account. Congress leaders and their friendly journalists immediately linked it to the cashless economy and Digital India. The issue was even raised in the Parliament today.
Even as the Congress support system was coming up with rather ludicrous arguments over why this incident was an indictment of digital transactions, the official Twitter account of the Party also appeared hacked as it started sending out weird tweets for around half an hour this morning.
These two hacking incidents one after the other left people guessing about the identity of the hacker(s). As of now, there are three options widely being considered:
1. Disgruntled Member: Since both Rahul Gandhi’s and the Party’s official accounts were compromised, people are guessing that it could be someone from the team that had access to both the accounts i.e. some employee in the IT cell or social media team of Congress, entrusted with managing both the Twitter accounts.
The fact that all is not well with the social media strategy of Congress came to light in May this year when one of the most influential Congress supporting Twitter handles revealed that he/she was ill-treated by the party and kicked out despite being loyal:
The fact that party doesn’t secure its digital assets well was also evident last year when its Delhi unit’s official website went offline because the member having access to it was reportedly denied ticket by the party:
— Jaini (@manichejain) November 30, 2016
So if this was another case of some party member or volunteer going rogue, the party needs to set its house in order. It would be very juvenile to raise the issue in parliament or to question cashless transactions – both of which they did – just because they are not smart enough to secure their digital assets.
2. External Hacker: If it was not done by someone who is part of the Congress party, maybe it was done by a professional hacker or a group of hackers such as Anonymous?
Although hacks by Anonymous usually don’t follow the path of sending out abusive and obscene tweets, some tweets during the period when Congress party’s account was compromised, hinted at the involvement of a group that was similar to Anonymous. For example this tweet:
— OpIndia.com (@OpIndia_com) December 1, 2016
Other reason to suspect a professional hacker or a group’s involvement was a tweet sent out from the compromised Congress handle, where the hacker threatened to dump all official emails of the party in public. This is similar to what hackers like Anonymous do:
If India Today journalist Rahul Kanwal is to be believed, Twitter has virtually denied that their systems were compromised and they appear to be blaming the Congress email system for the security breach i.e. the hacker had access to official emails of Congress, which is why he was able to reset the passwords and log into these official accounts:
Sources at Twitter say Congress email system seems to have been compromised. This could get a whole lot worse if mails get dumped in public. pic.twitter.com/v1tu63cywa
— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) December 1, 2016
If this is indeed true, we are to set witness a desi controversy similar to John Podesta’s email leaks that we saw during the US Presidential elections. The hacker has claimed that it would be released around Christmas. Let’s see if there indeed was an external hacker.
3. Planned Drama by Congress: Then there is the final theory that this was all done by the Congress party to manufacture controversy around the government’s push for the cashless economy and Digital India.
The theory, captured in the image contained in the tweet below, claims that the theory of “disgruntled employee” was spread by friendly journalists of Congress to hide the fact that it was all planned by the party:
This perfectly sums up why it was all a set up by Congress hacks to run down govt’s cashless economy drive. pic.twitter.com/Klr7nmcB8w
— Maya (@Sharanyashettyy) December 1, 2016
The theory has some credence because if it indeed was a malicious hack, as the party claims, they should have approached Twitter and asked them to temporarily take the accounts off or at least take away the “verified” badges (blue ticks) off till the party got control of the accounts back.
But the party appeared more interested in bashing the cashless economy and Digital India than getting control of the accounts back. And interestingly, they got control of their party’s official account back just in time today:
So 35 minutes of INC hacked tweets finished just in time for Parl to start
— Vijay (@centerofright) December 1, 2016
So what is the truth? We will know after the investigations are over, as the party reportedly has filed a police complaint. Meanwhile, you can take your pick among the above options, or add more options in the comments section below.