This past weekend, a hacker – or perhaps hackers – took over the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the British Army, during which time the Twitter account’s name was changed to “psssd,” while its profile and banner pictures were changed to resemble a nonfungible token (NFT) collection dubbed “The Possessed.”
It was part of an effort by some people to promote cryptocurrency scams.
On Sunday, the account was changed to “Bapesclan”, which is another NFT collection. It remains unclear – yet it is unlikely – whether the actual Bapesclan was involved. The name of the U.K. military YouTube account was changed to “Ark Invest” in an apparent reference towards ARK Investment Management LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida.
The British Army currently has 3622,000 Twitter followers and the YouTube channel, 177,000 subscribers.
Safeguarded and locked
Twitter confirmed the breach of account for British Army, however it said that the account was secured and locked.
A spokesperson for the British Army stated that they were aware of an attack on the Army’s YouTube and Twitter accounts. An investigation was underway.
Sunday evening, the matter had been solved. The UK’s Ministry of Defence Press Office announced via Twitter: “The Army’s Twitter account and YouTube account breach that took place earlier today was fixed. An investigation is ongoing.” It is important for the Army to take information security seriously. While their investigation is completed, it will not be appropriate to make any further comments.
Although such social media hacks are not common, they certainly brought attention to the severity of the problem.
Cyberattacks are becoming more dangerous as state actors and non-state actors can carry out attacks with varying degrees of severity targeting different targets. Threats from cyber warfare and hybrid warfare are very real threats to the Ministry of Defence. However, procurement and implementation of cybersecurity systems has been slowing down due to the increasing sophistication of technology being used even by amateur hackers,” said Madeline Wild (associate defense analyst, international analytics firm GlobalData).
The recent cyberattack highlights the problem in the security preparedness of Britain’s Army. This issue was identified by the defence committee of parliament back in 2013. The parliament’s defence committee warned that Britain’s military could be “fatally affected” by sustained cyber attacks and urged the government to take further steps to improve its cybersecurity.
Such warnings are apparently ignored.
Wild said that “the recent cyber-attack is the second by the British Army in six month, raising more concerns about the security of its cyber defenses.” It is crucial to think about the consequences of hacking such an incident if carried out by terrorist organisations or enemies states. The Army finds both incidents embarrassing due to their natures and the fact that neither of them required any high-tech software.