How The Heart Of My Online Identity Got Ripped Out.

Last Monday morning I woke up into a virtual identity nightmare – again. Only this time much worse than back then, when only my Foursquare account seemed to have vanished. Much much worse, because I lost control over one of the most central pieces of my online identity: my Twitter account.

I don’t know how exactly it happened, probably my password got phished. I had opened a mail from Twitter on my iPhone while I was on my way to work, telling me that they received a reset request for my password. I probably shouldn’t have clicked that link. But. I did.

By the time I arrived in the office, I couldn’t access my account through the web. My desktop and mobile Twitter clients were the only connection left. I had to witness how my photo, name, and bio were deleted and changed (at least now it was obvious that something weird was going on in the account). I turned to the Twitter website, filed two or three tickets (yeah, I panicked), and informed my followers that the account has been hijacked.

Ironically, Monday was also the day when my employer announced me as the responsible person for their Twitter account. What a perfect timing.

Then the waiting began. The guy didn’t tweet nor did he do anything else. But Twitter didn’t do anything neither. On Thursday night I was sick of waiting and I directly tweeted to Twitter Germany’s managing director from my hijacked account.

When I woke up on Friday morning I felt like throwing up. My beautiful hijacked Twitter account had a new username. The hijacker changed it to @hbgbo. Immediately, I created a new acount to secure my username. Thankfully, I still had access to my old account through my desktop client, where I received a direct message from Twitter’s managing director that they would look into the matter. And eight – yes, eight – minutes later I was back in my old account.

What a relief.

But what I still don’t understand: Why would you hijack a Twitter account if it’s not for the name (he changed it) or the huge amount of followers (my followers are an exclusive crowd, but comparatively small in number)? Probably the answer to the question is: because you can. And I was stupid enough to click that link.


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