A mischievous hacker, or group of hackers, took over Disneyland’s official Instagram and Facebook accounts earlier today, and, apparently, defaced them both with a series of profane and racist posts.
Walt Disney Company has confirmed the breach, which appears to have occurred around 7 AM US Eastern time. The entertainment giant stated that it responded to the incident with zeal: “We worked quickly to remove the reprehensible content, secure our accounts, and our security teams are conducting an investigation.”
Screenshots of the unauthorized Instagram posts were available online as of the publication of this article, and depict photos of what appears to be some young men in their 20s; accompanying captions imply that one of individuals seen in the images is the hacker who carried out the attack on the social media accounts, but, as of now, there is no way to confirm the veracity of any such claims.
In the caption of one of the since-deleted posts, the hacker bragged about their skills and began to explain their motivation for carrying out the attack — “i am a super hacker that is here to bring revenge upon Disney land,” the post reads.
People should not, however, view the fact that someone successfully breached a couple of Disneyland’s social media accounts as evidence that any new “super hacker” is on the prowl; the only skills-related matter that is obvious from the hacker’s posts is that they would likely benefit from some lessons in English grammar.
While I am, obviously, not intimately familiar with the inner workings at Disney or its various subsidiaries and components, the reality today is that social media accounts at major corporations are often run without sufficient involvement of the firms’ cybersecurity teams, because the latter are often stretched thin dealing with matters that are (often, correctly) deemed more pressing. Such a phenomenon is especially true when it comes to corporations’ so-called “non-primary accounts” – such as the @Disneyland Instagram account, which, while boasting an impressive 8 millions followers, remains both less significant brand-wise, and a far cry following wise, from the the main @Disney account, whose popularity has earned it almost 34 million followers.
In short, defacements are upsetting, annoying, and embarrassing, but they do not demonstrate great hacking sophistication – nor do they usually inflict any significant lasting damage as do data breaches. That said, let’s hope that the perpetrator was dumb enough to include his photo – and that law enforcement soon does catch up with him.