The Twitter account of Syed Akbaruddin was hacked on Sunday, with the unperturbed Indian envoy to the UN asserting that it would take more than a hack to keep him down. The unidentified hackers, suspected to be based overseas, posted two pictures and a video and changed the name of Akbaruddin’s twitter account from @AkbaruddinIndia to @AkbaruddinSyed.
Akbaruddin, India’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations, has more than 66,000 followers on Twitter. After the hack was noticed, Twitter briefly blocked his twitter handle. The account was later restored by the micro-blogging site, which also launched a probe. All the hacked tweets were also deleted.
Akbaruddin thanked twitter and said that it would take more than a hack to keep him down. “I’m back. It will take more than a hack to keep me down. Thanks to Twitter India and many others who helped,” Akbaruddin said in a tweet.
Netizens noticed the cyber attack and retweeted the two photos and the video posted on Akbaruddin’s hacked account. One of the tweets posted by the hackers had a photo of Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain sitting next to a table with a photograph of its founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Another photo had emoticons of the flags of Turkey and Pakistan. The video song of Bollywood actor Raj Kapoor’s “Awara Hoon” was also posted by the hackers. As per the tweets posted by his hacked account, the hacker claimed to be from Turkey and in “love” with Pakistan.
“You are hacked by the Turkish cyber army Ayyildiz Tim! We got your DM correspondence! We will show you the power of the Turk! I Love Pakistan,” the hacker said in his message, which included emoticons of the flags of Turkey and Pakistan.
Akbaruddin, 57, as the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (2012-2015), was among the firsts to start using social media, Twitter and Facebook as part of the ministry’s outreach and public diplomacy. Through his low-profile but aggressive diplomatic style, Akbaruddin has ensured diplomatic isolation of Pakistan at the UN.
Last year, he was instrumental in the unexpected victory of India’s candidate (Dalveer Bhandari) for the International Court of Justice against a formidable candidate of the UK. It was for the first time that a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council was defeated by a non-permanent member.