Twitter’s New Hacking Labels, what it Means and How Were They Hacked?

Twitter users just noticed a new change in Twitter. As of February 20th 2021, Twitter started putting some warning labels under some tweets. The warning label states that the following tweet may be obtained through hacking based on the content or link it carries.

The warning label first appeared on a tweet by an independent news website “The Grayzone”. The tweet in question included a link about a story of hacking and leaking which portrayed the participation of BBC and Reuters in a program created by the UK government called the “weaken Russia's state influence.” The tweet showed a message reading “These materials may have been obtained through hacking” and whenever any other Twitter user tried re-sharing the tweet it showed a pop up to them warning about the hacked contents, however once they did follow through with re tweeting the same warning label appeared on their tweet as well.

This was the first tweet that was labelled with the new warning label however after that a number of tweets which the company thought was based on hacked and leaked documents were labelled with the similar label as well. A tweet which contained a link to an Italian outlet was labeled with the same thing as well because the tweet contained a link about the new Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

But what were the circumstances that led to Twitter putting on such labels?

Well, last year in October, when the microblogging network blocked links that accessed to the tweet of New York Post story which contained materials which were obtained from the laptop of the politician and current US president’s Joe Biden’s son’s, Hunter Biden. The company also blocked people from sharing the tweet links within their DMs and on their stories. This created a havoc and the company faced a back lash from the public for banning them from the tweet and the company had to revert their action. Based on this scenario, the company has introduced this label which would warn the public prior to opening the link that the tech giant thinks that the information contained within the tweet is hacked or contains unverified information.

But as much as Twitters intention were pure with this newly introduced feature, the world is full of smart and computer science geeks who love to put their brains just for some fun and it was in no time that some people found a hack of this new feature as well.

Remember how we mentioned above that if you re-tweet a tweet containing the label, the label will appear on the re tweeted tweet as well. Now turns out some people found out that Twitter also displays the warning if you trick it into doing so by using a specially crafted link to a genuine URL combined with the flagged one and this tricks the card based system into flagging a normal tweet with the label as well. This hack works on web and Twitter’s mobile apps for iOS and Android and in most cases it is likely to crash the Android version of the app if you make an attempt to react a like on the falsely made flagged tweet.

However, Twitter found about this hacking system early on and is working towards making this label a more secured one. As to when that will happen has not been mentioned, but once it is we will be here to update you.

Read next: Twitter releases the latest report detailing the top growing trends on the social network
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