Twitter Gives @N His $50,000 Stolen Handle Back

Twitter Gives @N His $50,000 Stolen Handle Back
[Image: Flickr user tomo908us]

Everyone gets hacked. But for at least one unlucky Twitter user who had his coveted single-digit handle hijacked thanks to a bizarre series of distortions and corporate loopholes, order has been restored.

If you haven’t been following the story, here’s the short version: Palo Alto developer Naoki Hiroshima was once the owner of @N, a single-digit Twitter account. He claims he was once offered $50,000 for it, but politely declined.

In January, a hacker (or hackers) were able to commandeer the websites he owned and operated via a clever bit of social engineering. First, the hacker allegedly impersonated Hiroshima on the phone with a PayPal representative, and was able to obtain the last four digits of his credit card. Then, the hacker claims to have used that billing information to obtain Hiroshima’s website passwords and logins from a GoDaddy representative, again on the phone.

The ransom: The reins to @N.

The result: Hiroshima changed his handle to @N_is_stolen, got the keys to his websites back, and waited to see if Twitter could–or would–help him out. For roughly a month after the incident, it was unclear if @N would ever be his again. Twitter said it was “investigating” the incident, and @N was made private. Then, one day, the account was suspended entirely.

In an apparent victory on Tuesday afternoon, Hiroshima tweeted this:

A few hours later:

And, funny enough, this happened: