Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Application Security

Hackers Abuse Twitter App to Hijack High-Profile Accounts

Many high-profile Twitter accounts have been hijacked in an attack apparently motivated by the recent diplomatic dispute between Turkey and the Netherlands.

Many high-profile Twitter accounts have been hijacked in an attack apparently motivated by the recent diplomatic dispute between Turkey and the Netherlands.

Hacktivists posted messages in Turkish containing the hashtags #Nazialmanya (Nazi Germany) and #Nazihollanda (Nazi Netherlands) on many Twitter accounts, including ones belonging to high profile organizations such as Amnesty International, the European Parliament, Duke University, UNICEF USA, Forbes, Reuters Japan, and BBC North America.

The message was also posted from the Twitter accounts of hundreds of apparently random individuals.

A majority of the affected organizations have already restored their accounts, and some of them have notified their followers about the hack.

The tweets included a link to a YouTube video showing Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The compromised Twitter accounts also had their profile pictures replaced with an image of the Ottoman Empire’s coat of arms.

Twitter accounts hacked

The attack was launched just as Turkey is preparing for a referendum, scheduled for April 16, on boosting the president’s powers. The Netherlands’ recent decision to prevent Turkish ministries from addressing expatriate Turks on the matter has caused tensions between the two countries.

It appears that hackers managed to hijack a large number of Twitter accounts through Twitter Counter, a stats and marketing analytics app that reportedly has more than 2 million users and tracks over 350 million Twitter accounts. The Netherlands-based service has pointed out that it does not store any Twitter credentials or payment card information.

The application requests both read and write access to Twitter accounts, which allowed the hackers to send out their tweets via the service. Some of the victims said they decided to block the app following the incident.

This is not the first time Twitter Counter has been abused by hackers. In November, the company suffered a security breach that led to spam tweets being posted from high-profile Twitter accounts, including ones belonging to Playstation, Xbox, The New Yorker, Charlie Sheen, Lionel Messi, and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.

Related: ‘Star Wars’ Botnet Has 350,000 Twitter Bots

Related: Botnet of 3 Million Twitter Accounts Remains Undetected for Years

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

Application Security

Cycode, a startup that provides solutions for protecting software source code, emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday with $4.6 million in seed funding.

Data Breaches

GoTo said an unidentified threat actor stole encrypted backups and an encryption key for a portion of that data during a 2022 breach.

Mobile & Wireless

Technical details published for an Arm Mali GPU flaw leading to arbitrary kernel code execution and root on Pixel 6.

Mobile & Wireless

Apple rolled out iOS 16.3 and macOS Ventura 13.2 to cover serious security vulnerabilities.

Cloud Security

VMware vRealize Log Insight vulnerability allows an unauthenticated attacker to take full control of a target system.

Mobile & Wireless

Apple’s iOS 12.5.7 update patches CVE-2022-42856, an actively exploited vulnerability, in old iPhones and iPads.

Malware & Threats

Microsoft plans to improve the protection of Office users by blocking XLL add-ins from the internet.


Security researchers have observed an uptick in attacks targeting CVE-2021-35394, an RCE vulnerability in Realtek Jungle SDK.