Sunder Pichai is the latest among the high-profile Silicon Valley bosses to have their online social presence compromised. The credit for pulling off the feat goes to the same OurMine team that has such hallowed personalities as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek among its targets in some of their most recent hacking adventures.
While it is Pichai’s Quora account that was compromised, the hackers also managed to reach out to the over half a million of the Google CEO’s Twitter followers as well. However, that was accomplished using the auto-tweet feature of Quora and not his official Twitter account which remains out of the hacker’s purview, as of now at least.
It was just a few weeks back that Mark Zuckerberg had been in the news when his Twitter and Pinterest accounts were found hacked. Same has been the case with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek whose Twitter account too was breached.
Ironically, the OurMine group justified their hacks claiming they did it to test the security of such accounts. That again is aimed at promoting their own services to upgrade the security of such accounts, for a fee of course. While it could be a topic of debate about the efficacy of such a personalized and intrusive marketing ploy, what can’t be denied though is that they have been mighty successful in their attempts.
OurMine has also been quite sober in the way they went about conducting their business. While they made their presence felt in other’s accounts, they did that via business like tweets that would seem more like promoting their services rather than rejoicing at their exploits. No obscene or disgraceful posts were made either.
“We are just testing people security (sic), we never change their passwords, we did it because there is other hackers can hack them and change everything,” the OurMine team revealed to TNW.
OurMine team can charge up to $5,000 for such services like scanning accounts on social media sites or other vulnerabilities. They also revealed they have made $16,000 selling their services.
OurMine, who they claim to be comprised of three members, also stated they managed to break into Pichai’s Quora account by exploiting a vulnerability in the Q&A platform. That however has been contested by Quora who said their systems have not been breached.
Quora further stressed on the oft quoted and considered the most basic security measure, that of maintaining separate passwords for each website besides also changing them frequently.