An app developer who had a rare Twitter username revealed he has been hacked by a person that wanted to own the @N handle at all costs, with PayPal and GoDaddy serving as unsuspecting accomplices in the ordeal. After blocking Naoki Hiroshima out of his PayPal and GoDaddy accounts, the hacker demanded to compromise – “access to @N for about 5 minutes while I swap the handle in exchange for your GoDaddy and help securing your data,” he wrote in an email.
I had a rare Twitter username, @N. Yep, just one letter. I’ve been offered as much as $50,000 for it. People have tried to steal it. Password reset instructions are a regular sight in my email inbox. As of today, I no longer control @N. I was extorted into giving it up. While eating lunch on January 20, 2014, I received a text message from PayPal for one-time validation code. Somebody was trying to steal my PayPal account. I ignored it and continued eating. Later in the day, I checked my email which uses my personal domain name (registered with GoDaddy) through Google Apps. I found the last message I had received was from GoDaddy with the subject “Account Settings Change Confirmation.” There was a good reason why that was the last one.