Twitter accounts belonging to Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos, among other high-profile users of the microblogging service, were hit in a scam that involved a fake tweet encouraging followers to send payments to a Bitcoin wallet. It had some success, too, as data on Blockchain.com showed that more than $115,000 via 392 transactions was sent to the Bitcoin wallet posted in the messages.
While the nature of the scam isn’t new — Elon Musk, for example, was targeted in a similar ruse in 2018, though it didn’t involve his account being hacked — there’s serious concern over how so many high-profile accounts could have been accessed at once.
As soon as Twitter spotted the attack it locked down the affected accounts and removed the fake tweets. The company later said that it had been the victim of what it described as “a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”
In other words, the perpetrator had tricked a number of Twitter employees into making security-related errors or giving away sensitive information that enabled the hacker to gain access to the company’s internal systems. There are a number of ways in which this can be achieved, including through malicious emails that impersonate a trusted person.
As the Post points out in its report, the hack has caused serious concern among U.S. lawmakers, with some fearful that a weakness of this nature in an online system could be exploited by malicious actors in a coordinated attack aimed at causing chaos or damage among the population.
Twitter, which is said to be cooperating with the FBI’s investigation, will be keen to get to the bottom of the incident and put measures in place to prevent anything similar from happening again. If it fails, the company risks a loss of confidence among its community of around 320 million active users globally, with this week’s hack having administered a hefty blow to the brand.
Digital Trends has reached out to Twitter for any more information it can offer on the incident and we will update this piece when we hear back.
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