A hell of a lot of people were pretty surprised to see a tweet recently from politician and Black Lives Matter activist, DeRay Mckesson, endorsing Donald Trump.
The situation did however explain itself when it turned out he’d actually been hacked – but this was no normal hack.
It used a technique known as ‘social engineering’ which manipulates people to gain their trust so they’ll divulge personal information, reports Tech Mic.
So, it works something like this – millions of people’s social security information has been leaked online and hackers can access this data.
They can then impersonate you while on the phone with, for example, a customer service representative, gaining access to all manner of personal accounts.
In Mckesson’s case, the hacker managed to access his phone’s SIM – redirecting ID confirmation texts from Twitter to a different phone – thus giving them free reign over his social media account.
This video, produced by Fusion, shows the technique in action:
However, social engineering isn’t new. In fact, it’s been a common technique for decades.
But a recent surge in socially engineered hacks does mean service providers like Verizon and AT&T are strengthening their defences.
That’s obviously great, but it probably means the next time you’re looking for a favour from customer support, they’re going to be a lot harder to convince…