Twitter founder's Twitter account hacked by OurMine

The founder of Twitter is the latest victim of the mysterious hacker group, OurMine, but is there a larger point here than petty vandalism?

OurMine has made a name for itself by defacing the social media accounts of Silicon valley executives
OurMine has made a name for itself by defacing the social media accounts of Silicon valley executives

Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, is the latest scalp claimed by hacker group OurMine.

The account, simply called @Jack, was hacked on 9 July, with the group OurMine taking over and posting a simple, “Hey, it's OurMine, we are testing your security, visit ourmine.org”, attached to a video advertising the group's work.

According to one outlet, the Twitter account was not actually hacked but Dorsey's vine account was, which was connected to his Twitter.

In any case, the post was quickly removed and the account reinstated.

OurMine appears to have developed a taste for the tears of Silicon Valley execs. Its previous high-profile hits include the Twitter and Pinterest accounts of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as well as the Quora accounts of Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

Norman Shaw, CEO of ExactTrak, told SCMagazineUK.com that this all might be a roundabout way of turning their black hats white: “There are three reasons to hack: one,  just for fun, two, just for profit and three to demonstrate weakness. In this instance, the latter seems to be the case. White hat hackers mostly started out as bad boys and girls and then changed. They are much in demand in the commercial world in the fight against genuine bad people. Let's hope OurMine is one of these.”

Strangely enough, a rumor is currently circulating that OurMine are about to set up its own IT security firm. If this is true, added Shaw, “then they probably are the good guys which is positive news for the industry and they're certainly building a high profile for themselves with their recent hacks”.

The link left on Dorsey's defaced Twitter page, ourmine.org, leads back to a website offering vaguely defined ‘services' including vulnerability detection.

Could these point to what are essentially benign acts of petty vandalism? Steve Armstrong, managing director of Logically Secure, offered an answer to SC: “The cyber-security sector is an odd market where attackers can gain infamy for hacking organisations and then leverage that publicity for marketing of their hacking skills and products.”

A good example of this is Lizard Squad. ”Having gained notoriety with their Christmas DDoS of several online console networks, (they) then tried to sell their DDoS/Stressor services,” Armstrong said. “So by achieving front page digital press they have significantly improved their group's commercial value and respect in the hacking underground.”

OurMine's origins are vague at best. The group has a considerable social media following –  while the group was on Twitter, it boasted 40,000 followers. The account has since been blocked but OurMine's Facebook page, as of writing, is alive and well.

Some sources say the group originated within Saudi Arabia. Another says that the group started as an offshoot of Anonymous. After an acrimonious split with the world-famous group of masked miscreants, OurMine started to select targets like Wikileaks and the gaming community around Minecraft.

More often than not, the group's work has been small, often targeting figures within niche online communities and hacker circles.