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‘Love Pakistan’: Twitter accounts of Anupam Kher, Ram Madhav, Swapan Dasgupta hacked

Turkish hackers Ayyildiz Tim had earlier targeted conservative US media personalities.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2018 20:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Anupam Kher,Twitter account hacked,Anupam Kher twitter hacked
Combination image of (L-R) Ram Madhav, Anupam Kher, Swapan Dasgupta. There was no immediate word from Twitter on the hackings.

Turkish hackers Ayyildiz Tim apparently hacked the Twitter accounts of actor Anupam Kher, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav and Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta on Tuesday after similar attacks on the social media accounts of conservative American personalities last month.

Messages with the words “Love Pakistan” were tweeted from the hacked accounts, causing consternation among Kher’s millions of followers. The hacks occurred on Safer Internet Day, organised each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones.

The hackers changed Kher’s Twitter handle from “AnupamPKher” to “AnupamPKherTC”, resulting in it losing its blue tick denoting its verified status for a short while. The account was also briefly suspended before being restored.

Dasgupta’s account too was suspended while Madhav’s account was available with several tweets posted by Ayyildiz Tim, which had targeted supporters of US President Donald Trump in January.

In a tweet on the hackings, Twitter Support said: “Our teams are working to resolve an issue affecting a small number of Indian users. We will notify affected account holders directly. Reminder: do not click on links in DMs coming from unknown accounts.”

A tweet from Kher’s account after it was hacked stated: “Your account has been hacked by the Turkish cyber army Ayyildiz Tim. Your DM correspondence and important data have been captured! I Love Pakistan.”

Tweets from the Pakistan government on Kashmir and the Pakistani military’s official media arm were quote tweeted from Dasgupta’s account with the caption “Love Pakistan” before it was suspended.

Kher, who is in the US, was quoted by ANI as saying: “My Twitter account has been hacked. Just got few calls from friends in India about it. I am in Los Angeles and it is 1 am. Have spoken to Twitter already.”

The actor, who has close to 12 million followers on Twitter, is a vocal supporter of the Narendra Modi government. Madhav is one of the key behind-the-scenes players in the government.

Several tweets in Turkish appeared on Madhav’s account.

On January 22, Ayyildiz Tim targeted the Twitter account of former Milwaukee County sheriff David Clarke, a supporter of Trump, following a string of attacks on conservative media personalities in the US.

At the time, the hackers posted that his “DM correspondence has been captured and interesting information has been reached!”

The Turkish hackers also targeted the Twitter account of Dore Gold, who has served as an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in January. In a tweet from Gold’s account, they wrote: “Jerusalem can not be the capital of Israel!”

Ayyildiz Tim was reportedly founded in 2002. Its ability to hack high profile Twitter accounts, including those followed by Trump which can privately message the US President, raised serious concerns about Twitter’s security protocols.

First Published: Feb 06, 2018 16:18 IST