Gmail, Twitter accounts of The Wire’s employee hacked after Meta expose

The employee was involved in the research work exposing Meta's policy communications director Andy Stone and his exclusive XCheck programme.

Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor of online news publication The Wire, tweeted on Sunday that one of his employee’s Gmail and Twitter accounts has been hacked.

The employee was involved in the research work exposing social media giant Meta’s policy communications director Andy Stone and his exclusive XCheck programme.

Varadarajan warned his Twitter followers not to respond to the employee’s email.

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“One of The Wire’s principal researchers on Meta lost access to his Gmail+Twitter accounts and some others at noon today. Whoever hacked him is sending suspicious phishing-type messages, like the one below. Please don’t respond to messages from or DMs,” Varadarajan tweeted.

Later, the employee – Devesh Kumar – took to his official Twitter account to narrate the incident. He said that he found himself logged out of his Gmail, Hotmail IDs as well as Dropbox. When he tried to log in, it failed to register the correct password.

He later tried logging in through his mobile phone but failed again.

“This is not the first time it has happened to someone at The Wire. My Gmail asked for a code on gmail/hotmail even when I entered the SMS code correctly,” Devesh tweeted.

He was finally able to restore his Hotmail and Twitter accounts after eight hours.

Background of The Wire’s Meta article

On October 10, The Wire exposed Meta’s XCheck programme where it accused the social media giant of giving the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT cell president Amit Malviya exclusive rights of allowing to flout the company’s privacy rules by taking down any post which is bad press for the party.

In its defence, Meta ferociously denied any such claims and slammed The Wire for publishing two stories, which, according to Meta (formerly Facebook) Chief Information Security Officer Guy Rosen were “outlandish and riddled with falsities.”

“These stories are fabrications. The stories are simply incorrect about the cross-check programme, which was built to prevent potential over-enforcement mistakes. It has nothing to do with the ability to report posts, as alleged in the article,” Rosen posted on Twitter.

As the tussle continued, The Wire stated that before publishing it used a Python-based open-source tool called dkimpy (DomainKeys Identified Mail) to verify whether the email from Stone was real or not, and it was. It added that before investigating the whole episode, it reached out to a trusted source that has been working in Meta for years.

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