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Embarrassment as US cyber ambassador's Twitter account is hacked

'Perils of the job' we're told

A top US cyber diplomat said his Twitter account was compromised over the weekend.

Nate Fick, the inaugural US ambassador at large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy, on Saturday announced the hack of his personal account (not the government agency one) with - of course - a tweet

"Perils of the job," he added, suggesting that his sense of irony remains intact. Assuming that was an authorized tweet, of course.

The US Department of State did not immediately respond to The Register's questions about who was responsible for the attack, how they accessed Fick's account, or whether the miscreants posted any nonsense, such as the cryptocurrency endorsements that appeared on the hacked account of UK education secretary Gillian Keegan after her Twitter account was compromised.

Twitter also did not respond to The Register's inquiries, including whether this account breach was related to the recent online dumps of Twitter users' data.

To be fair, the micro-blogging company has axed its public relations department, which could explain its lack of response. Plus, its chief information security officer quit in November, which could explain the slapdash security of late.

Fick was sworn into office in September, and he serves as America's first-ever cyberspace ambassador at the State Department's first Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, which launched in April 2022.

The bureau is tasked with addressing "national security challenges, economic opportunities, and values considerations presented by cyberspace, digital technologies, and digital policy."

Fick is in the South Korean capital, Seoul, this week. Meetings with Korean government and industry leaders to discuss, among other things, cybersecurity cooperation and securing IT infrastructure are on the agenda.

Prior to joining the State Department, Fick was CEO of security software company Endgame, which was acquired by Elastic in 2019. After the acquisition, he led Elastic's global infosec business. 

All of this suggests that Fick is no novice when it comes to politics or infosec. As such The Register will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume his Twitter password wasn't "p@ssw0rd" — or his dog's name.

Still, it wouldn't be completely unprecedented for a US government official to take a do as I say, not as I do approach to cybersecurity. Former CIA director John Brennan did, after all, use AOL for email and that account was later hacked by a teenager. ®

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