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Twitter hack caused by stolen VPN credentials (Includes interview)

Employees were fooled by the hackers constructing the site to look exactly like the VPN login page. As a result of the hack, many high-profile Twitter accounts were compromised. According to TechRadar, the hack made headlines all over the world, with the accounts of high-profile Twitter users – including Barack Obama and Elon Musk – compromised.

Commenting on the hacking event forDigital Journal is Mark Riemer, Field CTO of Pulse Secure.

According to Riemer, the heart of the matter are virtual private networks (VPNs). These are a series of virtual connections routed over the Internet and which function to encrypt data as it travels back and forth between theclient machine and the Internet resources you’re using, such as web servers.

With this, Riemer says: “While VPNs have been used as a secure access method for many years, they are rapidly evolving to stay ahead of the attack curve. The latest Twitter hack emphasizes the need for a comprehensive remote secure access approach founded on the concept of Zero Trust.”

By Zero Trust is a security concept centered on the belief that organizations should not automatically trust anything inside or outside its perimeters. There are different models and approaches for achieving this.

In terms of how the hack happened, Riemer says: “Cybercriminals tricked Twitter employees into handing over their account details by creating a site that mirrored their VPN login page and even went as far as to call staff members, claiming to be from Twitter’s IT department.”

In terms of what needs to be done, theanalyst says: “To prevent someone from logging into a VPN using stolen or compromised credentials, it is imperative that organizations remove any implicit trust and establish context-based access permissions. These are two of the driving principles of Zero Trust, which allows organizations to ensure continuous, contextual security by verifying and re-verifying users to ensure they are who they truly say they are and prevent outsiders from obtaining unauthorized access to the network.”

Riemer concludes: “The Zero Trust principle dictates that no connectivity is allowed until a user is authenticated, their endpoint is validated, and application access is verified for that individual, stopping cybercriminals from gaining access.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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