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The Turkish hackers wreaking havoc on conservative Twitter accounts

A screenshot of David A. Clarke's hacked Twitter
Photo credit: Twitter

Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr. is the latest conservative media personality and Trump supporter to have his Twitter account hacked by the Turkish cyber group Ayyıldız Tim. The pro-Erdogan collective has taken over a variety of prominent accounts, changing their photos and username — which results in the loss of the verified checkmark — while posting pro-Turkey messages and claiming to obtain contents of the victims' direct messages.

Why it matters: The right-leaning Twitter accounts appear to have been targeted due to their proximity to President Trump, as the hackers have messages critical of American foreign policy toward Turkey. In some cases, Ayyıldız Tim have used their control of accounts followed by Trump's famous @realDonaldTrump account to send direct messages straight to his inbox.

The other conservative media personalities targeted:

Others targeted by the group:

  • Syed Akbaruddin, the Indian representative to the United Nations; used to tweet pro-Pakistan messages
  • Børge Brenda, president of the World Economic Forum
  • Klaus Brinkbäumer, editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel; used to criticize Der Spiegel's reporting on Turkey and Erdogan
  • Dore Gold, former Israeli diplomat and aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; used to criticize Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital
  • Clyde Haberman, New York Times reporter
  • Sevan Nişanyan, Turkish-Armenian intellectual; mocked him fleeing Turkey after imprisonment
  • Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister and current leader of the European Parliament's liberal coalition; used to “protest against the extreme racist attitude of Belgium and the Netherlands against Turkey and Muslims”
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