GCHQ Twitter Mishap: Protecting your brand image on social media
by Raymund Taylan, Senior Security Advisor
19 August 2020
Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), an intelligence and security organisation in the UK, recently surfaced in the news after a rude Twitter post revealed the answer for their weekly brainteaser puzzle.
The deleted post, displayed below, shows the rude answer that was mocked by some GCHQ Twitter followers, with one saying, “GCHQ have deleted their…see you next Tuesday tweet”.
Original GCHQ entry, since deleted, mocked by some GCHQ Twitter follows.
GCHQ entry for this week is to crack a code posting the sequence shown in the post above.
For clever followers, letters sequence provides the clue and can be deciphered as the fourth letter from each planet in the solar system.
20 minutes after GCHQ posted a straightforward answer to their weekly brainteaser, the tweet was swiftly removed. The GHCQ answer post appeared to be a tweet from someone who mistakenly provided the name of the planets in incorrect order.
It didn’t take too long for the GCHQ Twitter followers to spot the mistake. According to the news, a GHCQ spokesperson made a public apology for any offence inadvertently caused by their post.
I am sure the intention from GCHQ was not to offend and that this was a genuine oversight. It shows how a brand’s reputation can be so vulnerable over social media. Use of social media is a great way for organisations to reach audiences and potential customers, and whilst this appears to be a genuine mistake, social media accounts are also vulnerable to being exploited by cybercriminals as access typically requires only a username and password.
If leveraging social media to promote your brand is important to your organisation, consider how you can improve visibility and control over access to your social media accounts to ensure only trusted parties can use your brand’s voice to reach your customers.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Cybercriminals have been known to impersonate brands by creating fake social media accounts as a way to dupe a brand’s customers for nefarious purposes. Getting visibility of this before it impacts your customers is paramount, and the social media networks will work with you to take these fake profiles/pages down. This does, however, require you to notify the social media networks and request that they take them down.