Cybersecurity sleuth hacks CIA's Twitter account to steer spies in a different direction

The vulnerability could have allowed foreign countries to intercept Western intelligence.
26 October 2023
Image by CyberBeat

A security researcher has taken advantage of a flaw on the CIA's official X account, gaining control of a channel used for recruiting spies. The CIA's account on X features a link to a Telegram channel for informants.

However, Kevin McSheehan managed to redirect potential CIA contacts to his own Telegram channel. McSheehan, an ethical hacker, commented that the CIA had made a significant error. 

The CIA is a US government organisation renowned for collecting secret intelligence from spies and informants worldwide. Their X account, with nearly 3.5 million followers, is utilised to promote the agency and encourage individuals to contribute to US national security. 

When McSheehan discovered the security mistake, his immediate concern was that foreign countries like Russia, China, or North Korea could intercept Western intelligence. To mitigate this risk, he registered the username and directed anyone clicking on the link to his own channel, where he warned them not to share any sensitive information. 

McSheehan noted that he has observed a similar problem with the X site in the past, but he was surprised that the CIA hadn't noticed. The CIA did not respond to a request for comment from BBC News, but the mistake was rectified within an hour of the inquiry being made.

- CyberBeat


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