Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is not becoming a photographer, as recent posts from his Twitter account suggest. Rather, the second in command in to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin had his account hacked.
Hackers post fake tweets on Russian Prime Minister’s Twitter account
“I’m resigning. I’m ashamed by the actions of the government. Forgive me,” was one of several Twitter posts on Medvedev’s account. Before it could be removed it was retweeted thousands of times, according to a Guardian report.
Another Twitter post showed the hacker’s understanding of the local Twitter culture. “#CrimeaIsNotOurs please retweet,” the post said in Russian. The tweet plays off the Russian-language hashtag #CrimeaIsOurs, which became popular after Moscow took control of the region.
Shaltay Boltay claim credit for Russian Prime Minister’s fall
Shaltay Boltay, a group that translates to “Humpty Dumpty” in Russian, appeared to claim credit for the tweets designed to have Medvedev take a great fall. The group tweeted a screenshot of Medvedev’s resignation tweet with the caption: “Ahha, well you understood ;)”.
“It’s obvious that this was a hooligan hacker prank,” presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying on the radio station Ekho Moskvy. “It shows once again the need to constantly observe the necessary level of security.”
Medvedev has dived head first, embracing technology to a significant degree with an active Twitter account and a fascination for the latest technical gadgets. But this also is coming back to haunt him.
Medvedev has been the victim of several publically embarrassing hacking attacks, illustrating just how precarious electronic communication is these days.
Russian hackers’ other dirty deeds
In July the Russian Humpty Dumpty group published then confidential e-mails former Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, a former Medvedev aide. After this brazen display of technical sophistication, the Russian government blocked the group’s blog and Twitter account.
Perhaps the most brazen of the hacked posts were pictures taken during a government meeting that Medvedev was chairing. It is unclear from the report if the pictures were taken by Medvedev or a group that might have hacked into his cell phone and taken control of the camera. Other pictures from Medvedev’s camera phone, including one of him in a “peasant shirt” were posted in an apparent attempt to embarrass the Russian leader.
In the wake of the leaks, the Russian government is taking measures to outlaw e-mails used for government business and the loose security on the prime minister’s Twitter account – he was said not to use the second layer of phone security – might be tightened.
For his part, former KGB boss Putin knows the perils of digital communication. A proud skeptic of technology, the Russian boss famously doesn’t own a mobile phone and rarely uses the Internet. That’s one way from not being hacked or spied upon.