A Twitter account hacked, hijacked, renamed repeatedly and gone

I had been on My Twitter handle @sunilrajguru since 2009 and have Tweeted more than 15K Tweets, with more than 5K followers, but all that has just vanished.

I had given my email ID and mobile number as a safeguard but don’t remember whether I did opt for a two factor authentication.

It all started when I got a mail saying someone tried to change my password…

Suspicious Yahoo Twitter

So I went to change my password, but I found I couldn’t even login to Twitter

Then I got this message saying my email ID had already been changed…

Address change

So now I couldn’t use my old email ID or mobile No. to change any details or change PW, they couldn’t be found.

I complained to Twitter Support Hacked Account, got a reply and further replied with the extra details.

Meanwhile, my handle vanished.

Account doesnt exist

Then my followers reported following an account which they never followed. When they clicked the link to my profile, their mobile cache showed my old account which got immediately refreshed to this…

Hacked Account Renamed

Same joining date. Same followers. A lot of my followers reported getting this when they clicked my profile.

So it appears my account was Hacked, Hijacked & Renamed.

Then I got an email from Twitter saying that they couldn’t locate my account or other details…

Twitter can't find

And this person, thanks to his or her hacking skills, gets 5K followers for free.

And I lose my 15K Tweets!

Identity Theft is one thing, this is a taking over of someone’s identity and renaming it to their own!

All in all a neat trick!!!

Post Script…

The hacker keeps changing the name of the handle multiple times, so I can’t keep track.

For Twitter Support it should show as one continuous account from 2009-20, but apparently it doesn’t, so nothing much can be done by the user!

Meanwhile I am off Twitter, but opened another account in my name in case I ever decide to get active again and no-one else takes my username.

Also the highest ReTweets I got for a single Tweet was in excess of 3000. That has been preserved thanks to good ole Wayback Machine.

3200 Retweets

Also one from 2010, the earliest it captured

Twitter 2010

Harrowing tale from another tech journo…

The day my Twitter account was hacked and left to rot out in the sun

The Jio Data revolution…

iphone-518101_640Desktop ho ya laptop ya ho mobile, 100GB per connection per device zaroori hone wala hai.
2017 will be year of Indian data explosion.

Reliance gives mobile data at fantastic rates.
That’s Jio.
All other players scramble to match that.
That’s Aur Jeene Do.

If all calls are free and mobile data is dirt cheap, then how will they make money?
Acche Din for consumers.
Bure Din for mobile operators.

Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho,
Kya Whatsapp forward hai jisko chhupa rahe ho?

Great for government.
Convenient for citizens.
Terrible for privacy.
#Aadhar

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

The rise of #PokemonGO

pokemon-1593089_640Wizard of O̶z̶ ‪#‎PokemonGO‬
Somewhere over the rainbow… is a Pokestop.
Just follow the black tar road… follow the white cement road.

Things never heard before.
“Dad, can we go for a walk!”
‪#‎PokemonGO‬

Sign before all private property…
‪#‎PokemonGOers‬ shall be prosecuted!

Matter of time before someone names a new variety of fruit ‪#‎PokeManGO‬.

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

The leader with the most Twitter followers shalt win

twitter-848528_640Nowadays in democracies, Twitter seems to be playing a great role and whoever with the most Twitter followers simply wins the elections and consolidates after that. It’s almost a cent per cent record.

First take the case of US President Barack Obama (https://twitter.com/BarackObama). At around 75 million followers he is in a league of his own. But in 2008 he was a rank non-entity and he was supposed to stand absolutely no chance against Hillary Clinton. But Hillary wasn’t even on Twitter then and was soundly thrashed by Obama who debuted on Twitter in 2007 a year after its launch.

Obama thrashed Mitt Romney (https://twitter.com/MittRomney) who after being on Twitter for a good seven years is yet to cross the 2 million mark. This year’s US Presidential race saw no surprises too.

Hillary (https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton) beat Bernie Sanders (https://twitter.com/berniesanders) on Twitter by 7.2 million to 2.7 million. The same thing happened in the offline world and Hillary got the Democratic ticket.

Absolutely nobody gave Donald Trump a chance in the Republican race with many saying he wouldn’t even make it to the Top 5. But on Twitter he (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump) thrashes Ted Cruz (https://twitter.com/tedcruz) by 9.4 million to 1.3 million, again a no contest which played itself out in the offline world.

Now also the mainstream media is staunchly behind Hillary, but it is usually social media which proves to be the deciding factor in the end. Trump is way ahead on the Twitter count, so you can’t count him out!

The Number 2 global politician on Twitter is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) with 20.6 million followers. His rival Rahul Gandhi wasn’t even on Twitter. That also showed in the offline world when Modi’s BJP thrashed Rahul’s Congress by a whopping seat margin of 282-44 in the Parliamentary elections.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (@SBYudhoyono) has 9.1 million followers and he won his two Indonesian Presidential terms. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) has 8.5 followers and he has been Prime Minister/President of Turkey since 2003.

Premiers David Cameron of UK and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel were predicted by the mainstream media of losing their respective elections, but they won. Not surprisingly they are Twitter leaders in their political worlds.

Most of the politicians are national leaders, but regional head honcho and New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) is biggie in the Twitter world with 8.1 million followers and that’s why he won 67/70 Assembly seats in the 2015 Delhi elections!

So whenever you want to watch a democratic election keep your eyes firmly on the Twitter followers of every leader, for it appears that the latest commandment is…

The leader with the most Twitter followers shalt win!

© Sunil Rajguru

Social media musings…

Troll.
Noun.
1. Critic.
2. Opponent.
3. Fault finder.
4. Fact checker.
5. Who differs in opinion.
and lastly
6. Stalker, abuser and one who threatens.

Social media has made all of us philosophers, writers, photographers, videographers, voyeurs, experts, agony aunts, attention seekers and trolls.

Fake story goes viral. Millions page views.
Fake story debunked. Millions more page views.
Particle-antiparticle pairs can be created from nothing.
Same with news!

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

The Indian Lords of Twitter…

twitter-117595_640Here’s looking at some Indian Twitter millionaires who have emerged as the most followed in their particular field…

Bollywood: Amitabh Bachchan.
@SrBachchan, 20.7 million followers.
Amitabh made his filmi debut in 1969 and became a superstar in the 1970s. The Grand Old Man has been around for ages, but he is no fossil. He was one of the first people to jump on the blogging bandwagon and did it quite regularly. He is a regular Tweeter too and has notched close to 50,000 Tweets till date.

Politics: Narendra Modi.
@narendramodi, 19.6 million followers.
So the Indian Twitterverse produces its first ever Prime Minister. That may be a bit of a hyperbole, but Twitter has a big role in Modi’s rise to the top spot of India. No Indian politician comes close. (Many years ago @ShashiTharoor was the leader though). But more than anything is how Modi has used Twitter to fire his ambitions. He has connected with the young in social networking and Modi’s army regularly ReTweet him and fight for him. There are also handles which translate his Tweets into various Indian languages.

Spirituality: Dalai Lama.
@DalaiLama, 12.7 million followers.
The Dalai Lama came to India in 1959 and since then has been a resident here calling himself a “son of the soil”. His Tweets are inspiring and spread a great deal of goodwill and harmony. Incidentally, he is following exactly zero people. He was India’s leader till 2014 but since then has fallen way behind.

Official account: PMO India.
@PMOIndia: 11 million followers.
There was hardly any traction to this account when Manmohan Singh was in charge. However it has zoomed ahead after Modi took over. It’s also always buzzing with activity a sort of government news feed and a lit of achievements. On Twitter Modi + PMO amounts to 30 million plus followers!

Cricket: Sachin Tendulkar.
@sachin_rt, 10.7 million followers.
When Sachin joined Twitter, the Indian Twitterverse went berserk. He picked up tens of thousands of followers in no time. He soon became the first Indian to notch up 1 million followers. However since then many Bollywood stars have left him way behind. That’s probably because of his lacklustre form towards the end of his career and subsequent retirement. Sachin is erratic in his Tweets, but still writes enough to keep his die-hard fans engaged. Virat Kohli is close on his heels with 10.5 million followers.

PIO: Aziz Ansari.
@azizansari10.5 million followers.
Indian Americans are doing very well and on Twitter at least, Aziz is the clear leader. He has his roots in Tamil Nadu and is stand-up comedian who has been part of many tours. He has acted in many TV shows with the most prominent being Parks and Recreation. Aziz visited India a few years back and joked that he could act in a Tamil action movie. Indians may not be familiar with him but may have heard his voice in Hollywood movies like Ice Age: Continental Drift (Squint) and Epic (Mub).

News handle: The Times of India.
@timesofindia: 6.9 million followers.
India’s oldest newspaper and the English daily with the most circulation manages to hold its ground on Twitter too. With close to a quarter of a million Tweets, it continues to pull its weight in the Indian Twitterverse.

Authors: Chetan Bhagat.
@chetan_bhagat, 6.9 million followers.
You’ve got to hand it to Bhagat: Whether you like his books or not, he definitely has built himself as a big brand. Twitter plays an integral part in that. Out of all the celebrities, Bhagat is probably the most active and interactive. He never shies from controversies and his Tweets always make news. Once when he blocked a few people many years back, #ChetanBlocks became a top trend. His open support for Modi got him many bouquets and brickbats. AAP followers also keep attacking him from time to time.

Industrialists: Ratan Tata.
@RNTata2000, 6.1 million followers.
Everybody Loves Ratan Tata! In real life too and also on Twitter. This despite the fact that he’s hardly active on this medium. For ages it used to be @TheVijayMallya who is much more active but has since fallen on bad times.

Comedians: Kapil Sharma.
@KapilSharmaK9: 5.2 million followers.
Comedy Nights With Kapil saw a meteoric rise and its hero became one in Bollywood movies too. Kapil is a superstar in his own right and was a late entrant on Twitter (he came in June 2013), but he’s on top here too.

Worldwide…

Indians are rising in in the Global Top 100 list and we currently have Amitabh, Modi, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra and Hrithik Roshan. In mid-2014 from Bollywood there was only Amitabh, but with 7 more apart from him and more in the next 100, they are taking over Twitter! Priyanka has a great chance to go even further thanks to her exposure to the West.

While Ashton Kutcher narrowly went past CNN to become the first with 1 million followers, the landmarks of 10 million and 25 million were first breached by Lady Gaga.

The current leader is Katy Perry, the first to get 50 million followers, narrowly edging out Justin Bieber in the race for that landmark. She’s close to 88 million and must be eyeing the 100 million mark.

As far as the next Indian landmark is concerned, it remains to be seen who reaches 25 million followers first.

In terms of ReTweets, Ellen DeGeneresOscar selfie not only became the first to get 1 million ReTweets, but also crossed 3 million later on!

Modi’s victory Tweet got 80,000+ RTs.

© Sunil Rajguru

(This post first came on May 26, 2014. This is the updated version with a lot of changes.)