A 15-year-old hacker took over the Twitter account of official Westboro Baptist Church spokeswoman Shirley Lynn Phelps-Roper on Monday. And in an unusual show of solidarity with a hacker, the Twitter community is thanking the anonymous “hacktivist.”
The popular teenage hacker, who goes by “Cosmo the Great,” exploited a flaw in Twitter’s help-desk system to take over Phelps-Roper’s account, Wired reported Monday night. Twitter suspended the account Monday morning.
Phelps-Roper apparently sent her last authentic tweet hours after the Sandy Hook tragedy, announcing that the controversial group planned to picket outside the funerals of Newtown victims. Cosmo broke into the account on Monday morning, changing Phelps-Roper’s background to an illustration that said “pray for Newtown” and editing her profile information.
Such hacks into private accounts are usually shunned by social media users, and for obvious reasons — they disrupt the network and, in many cases, compromise personal information. A series of coordinated attacks in 2009 compromised the accounts of the Huffington Post, Facebook and CNN’s Rick Sanchez among 29 others, according to Techcrunch. “I’m assuming the people that find these lame-brain pranks funny are not Twitter users,” one reader commented at the time. The recent leaks of several thousand LinkedIn passwords and Apple ID numbers were also greeted with widespread dismay.