back to article Brexit bad boy Arron Banks' Twitter account hacked: Private messages put online

Brexit-supporting businessman Arron Banks has had his Twitter account hijacked and his private messages dumped online by person or persons unknown – and random script kiddies are trying to claim the credit for it. Banks’ account was seemingly accessed two days ago, with @arron_banks on Twitter (since suspended) being used this …

  1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Trollface

    Frankly I suspect it will be difficult to distinguish Aaron Banks’ legitimate tweets from fake news.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Well, yes, that's how fake news works. If it were easy, no-one would be fooled.

      But be honest, did you believe the "northern monkeys" reference when you first read it? If so, you're exactly the prime target for this batch of fake news.

      Personally, I don't think that anyone who has spent more than half an hour in British politics would ever write those words, in any context except smearing an opponent. If I saw them attributed to Raab, Farage, Johnson, Patel or any of that crew, I would look very, very hard for the source. But it's exactly the sort of thing that some people will be willing to believe, or pretend to believe, and retweet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "be honest, did you believe the "northern monkeys" reference when you first read it?"

        (Posting anonymously for work reasons.)

        Yes, I did believe it, and I feel no shame about that because it's exactly how these people think. It's a good piece of fake news and we should be glad that the technical side was lacking, because every bit of fake news that slips into the case against them only serves to weaken that case.

        What isn't fake news is that per the PMs a number of Tory MPs were working hand in glove with Banks to get a Tory-UKIP/BXP pact in a General Election as early as March 2018. Some of them were accepting incentives from Banks which it seems have not been declared. The PMs also show how many journalists are working with Banks to push the Brexit narrative, including Hermann Kelly, who has with Banks a humorous discussion of Jews which will be quite enlightening to anyone following the "Labour is anti-Semitic" strand.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re:because it's exactly how these people think.

          Or, just possibly, its exactly how you would like to believe those people think. One excellent way to make your fake news more credible to your target audience is to reinforce their prejudices.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Re:because it's exactly how these people think.

            > its exactly how you would like to believe those people think

            That's becoming a bit of a problem with actual quotes from a current prime minister (and president).

            1. Sam Liddicott

              Re: Re:because it's exactly how these people think.

              no actual quotes follow...

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: "be honest, did you believe the "northern monkeys" reference when you first read it?"

          For Banks to be trying to co-ordinate efforts between factions, I wouldn't find either surprising or particularly scandalous. It might be marginally embarrassing to some of the more swivel-eyed supporters of those parties, but that's about as far as it goes.

          Ditto working with journalists - welcome to politics, this is how activists work.

          Undeclared "incentives" - yes, those might be an issue, if there is actual evidence of them.

          Anti-semitism - that might be a problem for the individual politicians concerned, and their party leadership would have to think about how to react - ranging from "issue a statement disassociating the leadership from the comments", through "demand an apology", up to "expel them". It only seriously affects the party when the leadership not only refuses to disown the comments, but actively defends or doubles down on them.

      2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

        "But it's exactly the sort of thing that some people will be willing to believe, or pretend to believe, and retweet."

        A commonly-spread story in Massachusetts is that Boston's famously corrupt mayor (He served part of one term while in Federal prison on mail fraud charges!) James Michael Curley was the originator of the phrase "Vote early and often!"

        A friend of mine had an uncle who had been politically connected to Curley and the Boston Machine who once chided him for attributing the quote to Curley: "Never happened...! Hizzoner was WAY too smart a politician to EVER say something like that... in front of anyone who would be likely to quote him on it!"

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          "Vote early and often" always sounded like a Chicago thing to me, anyway.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      That's easy: the really implausible ones are the real ones.

    3. paulf Silver badge
      Coat

      The Streisand Effect

      "El Reg is not completely sure how that works, or if [Andy Wigmore has] heard of the Streisand Effect."

      The first rule of The Streisand Effect is everyone knows about The Streisand Effect.

      1. DBH

        Re: The Streisand Effect

        and if they didn't, they do now

      2. macjules Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: The Streisand Effect

        Great pun .. "nose about the Streisand effect"

  2. gr00001000

    Banksy

    Twitter has quickly taken down accounts. File.io taken down link. This story has legs...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This story has legs...

      My guess is that he has access to a phalanx of $500/hour lawyers.

      But as has been said, it may well be hard to sort out the large number of lies from the very few truths he uttered in 2016.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take note politicians/businessman around the world!

    "Banks’ account was seemingly accessed two days ago, with @arron_banks on Twitter (since suspended) being used this afternoon to spread links to a Mega.nz download page hosting a dump of the Twitter account’s full archive."

    You can expect a lot more private message dumps if you try and break encryption or place "backdoors" into messaging apps.

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/11/18/interpol_says_encryption_helps_sickos_prey_on_kids/

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Take note politicians/businessman around the world!

      Particularly given the public interest aspect of politicians activities...

  4. John Robson Silver badge

    Patience...

    Not really that much time to *be* patient.

    For someone already convicted of illegal electoral behaviour - there is a current electoral campaign he will want to screw up as well.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Patience...

      We're talking about the difference between obsessively following Twitter today, vs waiting for a few journalists to do it and reading their accounts tomorrow.

      If you can't bring yourself to wait a day to read that kind of thing, you're going to make your own work in distinguishing fact from fantasy a great deal harder.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Patience...

        No - I'm talking about not waiting months for an investigation to get suppressed in the bowels of our judicial system.

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Patience...

      "someone already convicted of illegal electoral behaviour"

      We aren't talking about the Liberal Democrats here, are we? ( 2017-12-19 )

      Or Labour ( 2019-01-15, a "record fine" )?

      Or Momentum ( 2019-03-06 )?

      Or Conservatives ( 2017-03-16 )?

      Of course the Greens deny taking a 250k bribe from the Lib Dems in 2017...

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Patience...

        And of course, disgustedoftunbridgewells, the £1bn bung to the DUP is a real doozy [£1,000,000,000]

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Patience...

          Are you pretending to misunderstand both my point and the article you linked to?

          If so, why?

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: Patience...

        You are pointing out, correctly, that the electoral laws are quite strict, and all parties infringe against them from time to time.

        But the great majority of those infringements are trivial to minor ("inaccurate returns", "late submission"). It is actually not usual for parties, even major parties who are expected to have big budgets, to understate their spending by tens of thousands of pounds.

        Source: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/who-we-are-and-what-we-do/our-enforcement-work/investigations

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If hacked in this way it may be useful to disseminate fake news stories asap in order to discredit more accurate items that take longer to assemble.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple test

    If it's on Twitter, it's crap.

  7. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

    Funny, Leavers invoking a EU regulation.... wasn't that all red tape from Brussels?

    1. Tilda Rice

      Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

      I know you're trying to be funny (and not succeeding very well), it would have been pointless making our own version of GDPR at the time, when we'd have to comply with EU regulation anyway.

      And UK companies will still have to ensure non infringement going forward even if we leave the EU.

      Doesn't matter what you think about Banks, nobody should be subjected to this kind of privacy intrusion/criminal behaviour.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

        You know that Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttal voted *against* GDPR? Others Brexit Party members didn't even vote - probably for them was enough to get the EU money doing nothing.

        Two other UKIP MEPs also voted against it.

        So, yes, it's quite ironic to see them invoking it and not just the ICO, promising that once "control is regained", the ICO will have even more powers - remember the wrist slap to Cambridge Analytica because the very small powers and resources?

        1. Sam Liddicott

          Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

          They know that voting against something doesn't make the result inapplicable to them.

          Something that many remainers apparently don't understand,

      2. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

        Doesn't matter what you think about Banks

        Given that his reaction to the behaviour of his own firm misusing the details of around 1 million people was "So what?", I think it rather does matter.

        He really doesn't see why these regulations should get in the way of his making money while simultaneously wanting them to protect him personally. It's the very definition of "one law for the rich".

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: "one law for the rich"

          Andy Wigmore, from his tweets, definitely has this expectation.

          I do hope that the relevant authorities (Twitter, police, ICO...) are treating this in exactly the same way as they treat similar reports made by normal members of the public...

        2. TeeCee Gold badge
          Facepalm

          Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

          Wrong. So wrong it's unbelievable. It doesn't matter because otherwise you are endorsing "one law for ${person/group_wot_I_h4te}", despite pretending to claim otherwise.

          1. Sam Liddicott

            Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

            These are they same people who think that the vote to leave the EU shouldn't apply to them; cousins of the "not my president" bunch.

            Many self identify as liberal and democratic; and get angry with those who don't enable their pretense.

      3. small and stupid

        Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

        Nah

        Public Interest

        Cry Havoc !

      4. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

        Doesn't matter what you think about Banks, nobody should be subjected to this kind of privacy intrusion/criminal behaviour.

        Anyone who believes Human Rights should be revoked fully deserves everything they get and worse too.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

          If you have to lie about your opponents argument, then perhaps you should reconsider whether you actually disagree with them.

        2. Sam Liddicott

          Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

          That sounds like an argument for partial revocation of human rights.

          Madame guillotine also waits for you, citizen Robespierre, by your own argument.

      5. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

        >it would have been pointless making our own version of GDPR

        That was because the UK version was going to take a different stance, one that would have facilitated (government) eavesdropping etc.

        >Banks, nobody should be subjected to this kind of privacy intrusion/criminal behaviour.

        Banks actively chose not to be a nobody when he decided to undertake criminal activities...

      6. m.williams

        Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

        I know you're trying to be funny (and not succeeding very well), it would have been pointless making our own version of Product Regulations and standards at the time, when we'd have to comply with EU regulation anyway.

        And UK companies will still have to ensure compliance with EU rules going forward even if we leave the EU.

        No one should be subject to their data being abused, but its dam funny when an abuser of data gets some Karma and has his data abused

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

      Hilarious, honest.

      The point of the GDPR was that for many, many years, Britain had the strongest data protection rules in Europe - much of Europe with very weak rules.

      The EU decided to play catch up ( and went further ).

      Why do you people pretend that had we not joined the EEC in 1973, our laws would have remained exactly the same, all below EU standards ( eg: no Data Protection Act for some bizarre reason ).

      I think this would have been illegal under the ( now superseded ) Data Protection Act.

      Mines the one with the book of "Tired old pro-EU comments" in the pocket.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

        Well obviously every single thing bad that ever happened in the UK in the last 40 years was the EU's fault, so it is only logical to assume that some things good are their responsibility to.

        Still its nice that you admit that actually we have had agency and free parliamentary will, and that much EU legislation is EU legislation that we actually want. and wrote. And that probably your fond-imagined bonfires of red tape will just stoke Whitehall's boilers to produce more, better, redder red tape, whether framed by Labour's 'the people's central committee know what's best' fantasies or the Conservative's 'we need laws to keep the plebs in their place' .

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

          Congratulations on writing the dictionary definition of a strawman argument.

          Why are you pretending that I have argued any of the things that you are claiming that I have argued?

          And why are you changing the subject? Is it because I'm right and you'd rather I wasn't?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Straw men

            Why do you people pretend that had we not joined the EEC in 1973, our laws would have remained exactly the same, all below EU standards ( eg: no Data Protection Act for some bizarre reason ). and who are 'you people'?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

            The official Brexiteer (Eurosceptic) line for many years has been to blame the EU for things which it had nothing to do with, or to make things up which could be blamed on the EU*. This has led to an overall "Brexiteers blame the EU for everything" view. While not 100% accurate** it was a close approximation of reality, and it was humorously turned on you in what was obviously a joke.

            * I have lost count of the ridiculous things the EU gets blamed for. Most are either completely untrue or a result of UK government policy. It would be hilarious if so many people didn't believe it.

            ** Actually, now it's not true: Brexiteers are more likely to blame "Remoaners" for everything***, but at least it's a consistent pattern of behaviour

            *** This is another joke, just in case you missed it again. It's not a very funny one, but I thought it would be helpful to point it out for you. You're welcome :)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

              The one thing that's consistent with leave voters is that nothing could possibly ever be their fault and that anything which goes wrong must be the fault of remainers and or the EU because their unicorn is perfect.

            2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

              Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

              "The official Brexiteer (Eurosceptic) line"

              "ie: A caricature I use to pretend that people I disagree with so I don't have to engage with the actual issue and so I can make myself feel better"

              1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

                Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

                Similar to the typical Brexiteer view of the EU, then: An oversimplified, distorted view which they can use to justify their own opinions while denying the validity of anything else to make themselves feel better.

                Personally, I don't use the caricature to avoid engaging on any issue. With those willing to have a reasoned debate I will discuss the merits and flaws of the EU until the cows come home. Those who are not willing to do so, who dismiss my points out of hand, who cite proven lies as fact and refuse to accept correction... After a short time of trying to convince them, I'll treat them as the caricature they are acting as.

        2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

          the Conservative's 'we need laws to keep the plebs in their place' . .... Anonymous Coward

          What dinosaur relics, knowing they know practically nothing about everything virtual today, would even imagine proposing that as a legitimate target, AC Such immediately renders one of particular and peculiar interest to that and those which they fear are an enemy .... rather than realising them as the greatest of friends.

          It is fundamentally catastrophically counter-productive and not comfortably intuitive.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

            I really didn't understand any of that. But if my poor attempt at humor passed anyone by, my underlying point was that politicians of all hues talk about 'deregulation, devolution and individuals taking responsibility for their lives - and then do the exact opposite. I thought it mildly relevant in a debate over whether the UK would have GDPR without the EU.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "Britain had the strongest data protection rules in Europe"

        Did you check the other countries regulations before asserting that? Do you know that EU countries had to implement the 95/46/CE directive too - which GDPR is an extension of?

    3. Halfmad Silver badge

      Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

      We haven't left and we'd still have the DPA/GDPR anyway when we do until parliament changes things.

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

      >Funny, Leavers mis-invoking a EU regulation...

      Can't see how Twitter have broken GDPR rules when, from reports the account was accessed through a SIM swap.

      Yes, someone hacked something not belonging to them and accessed a twitter account, also not belonging to them, but no one is claiming that they hacked Twitter's systems to gain the information.

      1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

        Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

        You beat me to it.

        And Twitter offers other methods of verification (mobile app, security key), so it's up to the user if they want to use text-based authentication and be at risk of SIM-swapping.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

          Sorry overlooked Brexiteer logic: it is Twitter fault that this particular user was able to select security settings that would assist a third-party taking over the account.

    5. JoeySter

      Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

      The UK already had GDPR before the EU rules. Though we call it data protection act, GDPR has come in as a generic term.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: "Twitter [...] have broken GDPR rules"

        >The UK already had GDPR before the EU rules.

        No it didn't. The reason why the introduction of GDPR was and is such a big issue is that it takes very different viewpoint on personal data (mostly due to the Continental European 20th century experience) to that of the UK which is why the DPA had to be revised and the various bills around state access to perosnal data such as the Investigative Powers Bill had also to be revised or quietly dropped...

  8. Dr_N Silver badge

    Obtaining and misusing other people's confidential data?

    Appalling! But enough about Cambridge Anal. and Eldon Insurance.

    Banks' Twitter account: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  9. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Headmaster

    the Computer Missuse Act

    Regulating young ladies' use of data processing equipment?

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