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Friday, 06 November 2020 09:21

Twitter + Deloitte + hacking equals some very red faces

Twitter + Deloitte + hacking equals some very red faces Image by Kurt Stocker from Pixabay

The social media site Twitter has once again shown it has somewhat twisted priorities by taking down the account of Swiss IT consultant and developer Tillie Kottmann who exposed consultancy firm Deloitte's lack of technical nous.

Last month, Twitter blocked people from posting links to an article that detailed the activities of Hunter Biden, the son of Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, published by the New York Post.

The company claimed at the time that this was because of its policy on hacked materials – though there was no indication that the material published by the Post had been obtained through surreptitious means.

In the case of Kottmann, Deloitte had a site set up with the name "Test Your Hacker IQ" which anyone could use, after entering a username. The domain was

Kottmann, whose Twitter handle is deletespace, found that the site's YAML configuration was open to world+dog – and within it lay the credentials for accessing the MySQL database used for the site.

deloitte hack

A screenshot of the which was taken down on Wednesday.

According to the The Register, the site had a number of multiple-choice queries none of which touched on the issue of publicly exposing passwords.

Like any sane person would, Kottmann posted a picture of Deloitte's faux pas on his Twitter account.

But Twitter, which now seems to be operating as the official censor for many companies, promptly took his account down. The company announced with much fanfare a few days after the Hunter Biden story fiasco that it was changing its policy on hacked materials.


Tillie Kottmann's Twitter accounts was suspended for taking the sensible option.

The Register also pointed out that Deloitte site was hosted on Ubuntu Linux 14.04 — version 20.10 was released recently — which is no longer supported by Canonical, the company that puts out the distribution, and that there are 11 possible exploitable flaws in the system.

The domain was registered in 2015 by Tank Design, a digital marketing company in Massachusetts, the Reg said, adding that it had a 2015 Deloitte Development LLC copyright notice.

Perhaps companies like Deloitte, which market themselves as being "driven to create an impact that matters at every opportunity" should not meddle in things that are meant for adults. There are limits to marketing, you know.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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