Earlier this week, New York senator Charles Schumer made public an open letter he sent to the owners of some of the internet’s biggest websites — like Twitter, Yahoo and Amazon — urging them to stop using the HTTP web protocol in favor of HTTPS, which is more secure. On shared WiFi networks, Schumer explained, even unskilled hackers can “steal private user information like passwords, usernames, and credit card information.” And then just like that, it happened to Ashton Kutcher, the first man to a million Twitter followers. (Now he’s approaching 7 million.) Earlier, Kutcher had been tweeting about being at the TED 2011 tech conference, full of just the kind of nerds who could make this happen.
The first hacked tweet referenced two of the actor’s past projects, sometime before 8 p.m. last night: “Ashton, you’ve been Punk’d. This account is not secure. Dude, where’s my SSL?”
“P.S. This is for those young protesters around the world who deserve not to have their Facebook & Twitter accounts hacked like this. #SSL,” reads the second message.
But the fact that both of these remain up on the account 13 hours later calls into question the validity of the hack. Firstly, it’s very well-intentioned and restrained, as far as celebrity internet abuse goes. And the fact that the tweets have not been addressed by the real Kutcher, who obviously uses the service often enough to know he’s been compromised, makes it seem more likely that Kutcher could be part of a TED-related lesson about internet safety, just like Sen. Schumer.
Programs like Firesheep, as Schumer explained, help even rookie mischief-makers act like hackers. Kutcher is helping to draw attention to the same issue, whether purposefully or not.