WikiLeaks threatens to build a database of verified Twitter users

Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, will perhaps be remembered as the day WikiLeaks stopped even pretending to be an organization dedicated to governmental transparency.

After tweeting against government leaks, the organization floated the idea of building a database of information about verified Twitter users.

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KEEP YOUR PASSWORDS STRONG AND VARIED

If your password is easy for you to remember, then it'll be easy for hackers, too. Try using symbols, numbers and capital letters throughout your passcode. Also, experts suggest you use different passwords for different accounts. 

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EMPLOY TWO-STEP AUTHENTICATION

Add another layer of security by having another code sent to your phone number before you can sign in.

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BEWARE OF PUBLIC WIFI

If you're traveling, verify with the coffee shop or hotel that the wi-fi name is valid -- many cybercriminals set up networks with similar names to popular spots. You can also set up a private VPN that encrypts all of your data that passes through the network.

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COVER YOUR TRACKS

Wipe your hard drive clean before giving away, recycling or throwing out your old laptop or computer.

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DON'T LEAVE YOUR DEVICES UNATTENDED

That's just asking for trouble!

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BEWARE OF MYSTERIOUS URLS IN EMAILS

Don't ever click on URL from an unidentified or sketchy looking email. 

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COVER YOUR WEBCAM 

FBI director James Comey suggests placing a piece of tape over your webcam when you're not using it. If that doesn't convince you, note that Mark Zuckerberg is known to do the same.

KEEP YOUR SOFTWARE UP TO DATE

Hackers target vulnerabilities in software, which are often resolved in software updates, so stop hitting the "ignore" or "remind me later" button!

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The theoretical database would include information about the families, jobs, finances and housing of anyone with a blue check next to their name. And, while it's not clear exactly how such a database would be published, it seems that an "online database" would be available to anyone with an internet connection, which is also known as doxing.

WikiLeaks later said the idea is to "develop a metric to understand influence networks based on proximity graphs," denying it is a doxing attempt.

But it's pretty easy to see how WikiLeaks, should it collect such information, could leverage it as a threat against anyone it wanted.

People noticed.



Twitter didn't respond directly, but it's hard to take the tweet below as anything but a response to WikiLeaks' earlier idea.

Whether they'd ban WikiLeaks, however, is another question.

Welcome to 2017, everyone.

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