Edwin, Mattijs, and Victor are three old chaps from the Netherlands who were able to access Donald Trump’s Twitter account in 2016 when they extracted his password from a LinkedIn hack that happened back in 2012.
The three men told reporters that they got the login details from a database that was being shared about hacks from the past and then tried it on his account.
Surprisingly enough, the password, but not the email, tied to the @realdonaldtrump account, worked initially. The Twitter process confirmed that the password was correct. The story was published by the Vrij Nederland (VN), a Dutch magazine published since the Second World War.
The LinkedIn breach of 2012
The journalist who broke the story, Gerard Janssen, said that the password was among a digital cache of data with 120 million usernames and passwords. It was the highlight of break-ins back in 2012, linked to a LinkedIn breach.
A Russian hacker was able to get the database and put it on the public internet in 2016. The researchers were able to look over the database that had 6.5 million hashed but unsalted passwords. While looking through, they saw an entry for Trump as well as the hash for his password.
Password security still a concern
Using a hash-reversing tool known as John the Ripper, they uncovered Trump’s login credentials. The password was “yourefired,” and after some searching, they found the correct email address (firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The three Dutchmen were thwarted by Twitter, which detected that the man who would be president had logged in earlier from New York. Using a proxy server, they found their way into the account. VN was able to provide screenshots of the logged-in account.
The men prepared a report to alert authorities later. It would seem that people have a tendency to use the same password for everything and would benefit from stronger and different passwords in case of doubt.