Hackers rig Time’s Person of the Year online poll to coronate Miley Cyrus

hackers rig times person year online poll coronate miley cyrus time of the

Will Miley Cyrus be Time magazine’s Person of the Year? If a team of savvy hackers get their way, she’ll twerk and tongue her way to the top of a reader poll. 

Time chooses a “Person of the Year” annually, and this year, they’re running an online poll to see who readers want. Until recently, Edward Snowden was in the lead, but Miley has usurped his place. She holds 29.8 percent of the vote, with a substantial lead over Snowden and controversial Indian politician Narenda Modi. but even though Cyrus is imploring fans on Twitter to vote, her social media encouragement isn’t the reason she’s in the lead. After talking with Daily Dot reporter Fernando Alfonso III about potential voting loopholes, two programmers called Gains and Marek decided to develop a work-around to catapult Cyrus past her competitors. 

Gains and Marek found a way to rig the reader poll within an hour by creating a software script that circumvented authentification on Twitter and Facebook to allow automated votes. This meant they could vote on behalf of people surreptitiously (Gains and Marek could probably get hired by some corrupt politicians if they wanted). This is especially sad for Time because the magazine tried to boost security this year after previous hacking incidents, including a security failure in 2012 where hackers ran a program that gave despotic North Korean leader Kim Jong-un the top spot. But apparently the precautions were no match for Gains and Marek. 

The programmer duo chose Miley over more controversial picks like the accused Boston bombers, Dhozkhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, noting that Cyrus is a more lighthearted choice. Their efforts helped Cyrus rise from fifteenth place to first, where she currently sits. 

Of course, Time doesn’t let its readers decide who gets called the Person of the Year — the editors decide. So even if the programmers tilt the poll even more overwhelmingly in Cyrus’ favor by the time voting closes on December 6, it won’t impact who is finally chosen. Perhaps it will impact how Time prioritizes its digital security. 

Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Business

4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.
Computing

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.
Computing

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.