Top 3 social media hacks of 2016 and what we can learn from them

So far, 2016 has been quite a prolific year in what concerns successful social media hacks. Even major names at the helm of some of the biggest online companies out there have had their accounts broken into this year.

Such famous examples are Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey or Sundar Pichai. Of course, they are a few of the thousands of hacking cases occurring on a daily basis. Read all about these famous mishaps in the following lines and find out how you can protect yourself against such unfortunate occurrences.


Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook cofounder and CEO famously had his Twitter and Pinterest accounts hacked in June. The group responsible for this was OurMine Team, who claimed they were able to do it thanks to the LinkedIn password leak from 2012, which only came to the surface this year.

Amusingly enough, even though most experts advise people never to use the same password throughout various social media accounts, this is exactly what the Facebook CEO did. His password was famously “dadada”, a reference to the first words uttered by his child.

Jack Dorsey

OurMine had a busy year this 2016 (and continues to). The Twitter CEO had his account briefly broken into by the hacking group at the start of July.

What did OurMine post on his behalf? A link to their site and the “testing your security” message together with a Vine clip. Apparently, the attack was possible through the Vine entertainment network. Dorsey may have had his account connected to another compromised service or used a shared password.

Unlike Zuckerberg, Dorsey’s account was broken into on the social media account that he is responsible of, which is probably worse than in Zuckerberg’s case (his Facebook account was left intact).

Sundar Pichai

OurMine are seeking to prove a point and they are very close to doing so. Pichai, the Google CEO, fell prey to the hacking group of the hour through his Quora account.

At the end of June, Google’s main man had his account briefly hacked, posting the message: “Hey, it’s OurMine, we are just testing your security, to upgrade your security please visit our website.” Since Quora was connected to his Twitter account, he automatically posted the same message on his Twitter page. As a result, 508,000 of Pichai’s followers learned about OurMine’s hack.

Quora representatives denied the existence of a vulnerability in their platform and recommended people to use unique passwords for all their accounts and services.

Some of the most important names in social media had their accounts hacked. Learn how to stay safe with #CyberGhost! Click to Tweet

The list goes on…

This year, OurMine also broke into the social accounts of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, Spotify founder Daniel Ek, former America Online CEO and co-founder Steve Case, as well as some Hollywood celebrities, like Channing Tatum.

Why are OurMine behind so many of these social media hacks, though? It appears that the hacking group has rebranded itself as a security firm, offering support to those it targets, so that they are no longer vulnerable to other hackers.

“We are just testing people security (sic), we never change their passwords, we did it because there is other hackers can hack them and change everything”, they declared, when asked for a comment.

However, OurMine are far from being the only ones behind the everyday hacks occurring to thousands of Internet users everywhere, they simply gained a lot of media attention after targeting some of the most important names in the 21st century’s world of online businesses.


How do we stay safe from potential social media hacks?

  • Make sure to set up accurate contact and recovery information, so that you can remember the details when requested.
  • Try using a unique password for every site; if that sounds like a challenging memory game, then try using a password manager like KeePass, 1Password or LastPass.
  • A good password could be a long, memorable, unusual sentence.
  • Even if it sounds like an extra effort, try activating the two-factor authentication for services that have it.
  • Check the list of apps connected to your account in the Settings section of your social media accounts (here, for Twitter). Remove old, unused services from the list.
  • If you’re worried that your account may have been compromised in a data breach, you can check online if that is a case; an example of such a service:
  • Download updates to your apps whenever necessary; newer versions solve some security vulnerabilities.
  • Don’t let others have access to your personal accounts; if you are at work for example, make sure to block your computer/other devices when left unattended.
  • Use a good VPN like CyberGhost to fully encrypt your online experience and make your personal data inaccessible to hackers (we have an app for every platform, be it WindowsiOS or Android)

About the author

Corina Dobre
Corina Dobre

A professional wordsmith, Corina has improved her writing skills through extensive experiences in journalism, advertising and marketing. Curious by nature, she enjoys learning foreign languages and discovering everything, as well as everyone around her.

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