WeinerGate: Hacking or Mistake? Update: How’d Weiner Get Back In To Twitter?
By now, many people should have seen the coverage of what’s being dubbed Weinergate… if you haven’t, here’s a good primer from the PJ Tatler.
Now, Weiner started off claiming that it was a hacking job, but there’s several problems with that explanation. First, it would have had to be two hack-jobs… one to hack the yfrog account and post the picture in question, and once to hack the Twitter account and send the tweet. Just one account being hacked is problematic enough, but two stretches the imagination to the point where “Weiner goofed and is now desperately trying to cover up” becomes more likely than a double-hack.
The fact that it may have been a mistake has some technical merit, as well, as pointed out by Lee Stranahan, from the Twitter support files about tweets from a cell phone:
Note: If your message is longer than 140 characters and Twitter receives it intact, we will send your message in two parts for you. But, beware: if your service provider breaks up long messages into two parts before sending the message to Twitter, we will only see the d+username attached to the first message! The second part will post to the public time line as a regular update because it doesn’t have the d+username preceding it.
Now, the pic in question looks like it could easily have been a cell phone photo, so if Weiner got a bit wordy in his message accompanying the pic–and he is a Congresscritter, after all–it could easily have caused the message to be split.
And, secondly, Weiner has refused to say whether or not the person in the pic was him, which leads to the question, if it wasn’t him, why wouldn’t he say so loudly and often?
Occam’s razor is definitely pointing to a mistake by Weiner that he’s now desperately trying to cover up because it points to some very inappropriate behavior.
UPDATE and BUMP: A very good point raised by commenter “Black Sabbath” over on the PJ Tatler (comment #4):
And we’re still supposed to believe the hacker just handed the Weiner the keys back to the accounts after messing with him for a little while.
How did Weiner regain access to his Twitter account so soon after the hacking? You’d think that the first thing a malicious hacker would do would be to change the password so that Weiner couldn’t do any damage control… like deleting the offending tweet. If Weiner used the “forgot password” routine to regain access, there should be a record of it on the Twitter computers… those things are frequently used to hack accounts so it’s highly likely any reputable company is going to keep a record of them. Has Twitter been asked if Weiner did that–or perhaps contacted the company directly–to regain access to his own account?
The more I think about this, the fishier the “hacker” story smells.