Leeds United-loving football fans appear to have hacked the Twitter account of WWE legend Jim Ross, and announced his death.
If you’re a fan of watching grown men in spandex, pretending to knock seven bells out of each other in front of a baying crowd, then chances are you will know Jim Ross.
Jim “Good ol’ JR” Ross is a legend in the strange world of WWE, where he made his name by spending years commenting – blow-by-blow – on wrestling matches between stars with names such as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Undertaker, and Triple H.
But Ross’s 1.3 million Twitter followers got a shock this weekend when Ross’s Twitter account linked to a sad statement apparently posted by his family on Blogspot.
Jim Ross Family Statement.
We are shocked and saddened to bring you the news that Jim Ross has sadly passed away. Long time friend @WhiteLeedsSite was with him at the time of his passing and it was said to be very peaceful. We will be making a further statement shortly.
Understandably, WWE fans were upset to hear the news and many turned to social networks to share the news with their friends and express their condolences.
There was only one problem.
Jim Ross wasn’t dead.
Furthermore, the message posted on his Twitter account wasn’t authorised by him or his families (and neither were subsequent tweets including “We all love Leeds”, “Maaaarching on Together”, “We’re gonna see you win”, and “We are so proud, we shout it loud we love you LEEDS LEEDS LEEDS”).
Now, I’m no detective but reading those tweets it sounds to me as if Jim Ross was hacked by a fan of English football team Leeds United.
If your ears can bear to listen, here is the club’s anthem “Marching on Together”:
Both @WhiteLeedsSite and Jim Ross’s Twitter account (@JRsBBQ) have since been deleted, although whether that is an action taken by Twitter or the hackers is unclear.
Ross himself has created a temporary account where he has denied rumours of his death, and says he hopes to regain control of his usual account soon.
I am NOT dead. Someone hacked me. Working on who did this. Hope to get my old handle JRsBBQ back. Over 1M followers in limbo.
— Jim Ross (@jimrossj1) December 6, 2015
At the moment, it appears that the hackers were more interested in causing mischief than using the popular Twitter account for something more malicious such as spreading dangerous links or spam to Ross’s followers.
We don’t know precisely how the hackers commandeered control of Jim Ross’s Twitter account, but it’s possible that he had chosen an easy-to-guess password, had fallen for a phishing attack, or made the classic mistake of reusing passwords in multiple places on the net.
The best way to harden your Twitter account is to not just use a unique, hard-to-guess, hard-to-crack password, but to also enable an additional level of authentication.
For instance, you can configure Twitter to send a login confirmation request to the official Twitter app on your iPhone or Android.
It’s a sensible idea, because the chances that a hacker who has grabbed your password also has access to your phone is pretty low.
Having such security in place would, I suspect, have prevented Jim Ross’s account from announcing that he had died, or chanting lyrics from an old Leeds United football song.