ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s Twitter account was hacked yesterday morning (25 April), with several cryptocurrency and stock trading-related tweets posted on his official account.
His bio was also changed to “Swing/Day Trading Mentor”.
Normal tweets were still being sent from Mr Barr’s account at the same time his account was being hijacked – posts about how to “Turn $20k into $1 million in 100 trading weeks” were side by side with tweets about Anzac Day and solar lighting in ACT bus stops.
Guardian journalist Josh Butler posted several screenshots of the out-of-character tweets. He suggested that “the person operating the account is just blasting out tweets drafted & saved by Barr’s office”.
Either ACT chief minister Andrew Barr’s has a new side hustle, or his account seems to have been hijacked by some kind of stock trader
(don’t think he usually has “swing/day trading mentor” in his bio) pic.twitter.com/fpNfo3WJpm
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) April 25, 2023
One ANU student also noticed the unusual activity and messaged the account to see how “Barr” would respond.
She tweeted that she had messaged the hacked account, saying, “Hi can I work with you on your upcoming digital marketing project”. She received a reply saying, “Hello – what experience do you have in the digital marketing space ?”
Thankyou for this opportunity @ABarrMLA pic.twitter.com/ecGbmLk0wN
— Skye High 🌻 (@Skyelark0) April 25, 2023
The crypto/stock tweets were soon deleted, but there was no immediate explanation for what had just happened.
That evening, Mr Barr confirmed his account had been hijacked. He tweeted: “Apologies for the unusual twitter activity in recent times. As would have been pretty clear, my account was hacked. Thank you to the twitter team for restoring.”
He did not give any explanation about what may have caused the account to be compromised.
Mr Barr’s Twitter bio was also changed to include the fact the “Account is not live monitored”.
With the Federal Government developing a new cybersecurity strategy amid growing fears of data breaches, this incident highlights the importance of protecting personal information and ensuring sufficient security measures are in place.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s current guidance offers five tips to keep personal accounts safe from cybercriminals:
- Keep devices updated as software updates often include security upgrades.
- Turn on multi-factor authentication for email, social media and online banking accounts.
- Keep a digital backup of your information in case information is lost, stolen or damaged.
- Set secure passphrases that are long, unique and unpredictable.
- Watch out for scams and be vigilant of messages that ask you to share personal information or appear unusual, even if they seem to be from someone trustworthy.