Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Twitter account was hacked on Sunday with the hackers sharing a Bitcoin giveaway link from his official profile. The hack was soon discovered and another tweet was posted from the official account nearly an hour later, clarifying that the PM's account had been "briefly compromised".
"The Twitter handle of PM @narendramodi was very briefly compromised. The matter was escalated to Twitter and the account has been immediately secured. In the brief period that the account was compromised, any Tweet shared must be ignored," the PM's account tweeted.
What was the hack all about?
On December 12, at around 2 am, the PM's account was hacked by apparent crypto enthusiasts who shared links to a blog about a Bitcoin giveaway. The post claimed that the Indian government had approved the use of Bitcoin as legal tender. It also stated that the government had acquired 500 Bitcoins which it was now distributing as a giveaway.
Is this the first time that such a cyberattack has taken place on PM's Modi's account?
No. In fact, this is the second such instance when the PM's account was hacked and tweets/links about cryptocurrency were shared by the perpetrators in the past two years.
In September 2020, the official account of PM Modi was hacked and tweets seeking donation for Covid-19 via cryptocurrency were shared from his account on the microblogging platform.
PM Modi is one of the most followed world leaders on Twitter with over 70 million active followers.
What did Twitter say about the hack?
Responding to the controversy, Twitter said that it had taken "necessary steps" to "secure" the PM's account. A Twitter spokesperson also said that the company was maintaining a 24x7 open channel of communication with the PMO. The statement added, “Our investigation has revealed that there are no signs of any other impacted accounts at this time.
What did Opposition say?
Several Opposition leaders on Sunday expressed concern over the hacking, claiming that the incident has exposed chinks in the nation's cyber security. Critics claimed that cyber security was as important as border and internal security and asked whether the Aadhaar data of all Indians were safe.
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said, "Hacking of Twitter handle of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an issue of big concern, worry and exposes the chinks in cyber security. With advancement and reliability on technology, policymakers must realise that cyber security is equally important as border, internal security." Shiv Sena deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Priyanka Chaturvedi said, "Prime Minister's account hacked briefly. Cyber security level exposed greatly."
The debate about crypto
The latest hack comes in the backdrop of a growing debate around cryptocurrency, its use and misuse. Earlier, while addressing the Sydney Dialogue on November 18, PM Modi had urged democratic nations to work together to halt the misuse of technological innovations like cryptocurrency. The government of India previously mentioned that Modi would take the final call regarding the regulatory framework for cryptocurrency in India. A new law regarding cryptocurrency is likely t be put forth in the ongoing Winter Session in Parliament. The new changes are meant to crack down on the reportedly growing cryptocurrency trade in India.