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Twitter disables tweeting via SMS after CEO Jack Dorsey’s account was hacked

Twitter announced on Wednesday that it would temporarily disable users’ ability to tweet via SMS. 

The official Twitter Support account made the announcement in a series of tweets, citing “vulnerabilities” that need to be addressed. 

“We’re taking this step because of vulnerabilities that need to be addressed by mobile carriers and our reliance on having a linked phone number for two-factor authentication (we’re working on improving this),” the company said.

Twitter also added, “We’ll reactivate this in markets that depend on SMS for reliable communication soon while we work on our longer-term strategy for this feature.”

We’ll reactivate this in markets that depend on SMS for reliable communication soon while we work on our longer-term strategy for this feature.

— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 4, 2019

The tweets come on the same day a second high-profile Twitter hack in less than a week happened to actress Chloe Grace Moretz. On Friday, CEO, Jack Dorsey’s account was hacked.

The hackers tweeted out the hashtag #chucklingSquad — the name of the hacking collective — during both incidents, as well as racial slurs, “intel” about a bomb threat at Twitter’s headquarters, phone numbers, and even what they claimed to be Dorsey’s social security number. The tweets have since been deleted. 

The hackers were able to access Moretz’s and Dorsey’s accounts through SIM swapping. With this method, hackers convince cell phone carriers to assign a phone number to a new phone that is in the hands of the hackers. Reports about the hacks say that both instances of hacked tweets were sent using the MMS company, Cloudhopper, by using texts to tweet. Twitter acquired the company back in 2010. 

Twitter’s communications account confirmed the SIM swapping method in a series of tweets on August 30. 

The phone number associated with the account was compromised due to a security oversight by the mobile provider. This allowed an unauthorized person to compose and send tweets via text message from the phone number. That issue is now resolved.

— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) August 31, 2019

Twitter’s policies currently allow users to add their phone number to an existing Twitter account to send and receive tweets as texts. According to the policies, only the account most recently linked to the phone number is allowed to perform SMS commands, meaning if you have more than one Twitter account, you could previously only text your tweets to the newest one.

The SMS text feature is commonly used for more rural areas that don’t get clear Wi-Fi service.

Digital Trends reached out to Twitter for more information on how long the SMS feature will be disabled, and Twitter told us that there is no estimate to share at this time.

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Allison Matyus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Allison Matyus is a general news reporter at Digital Trends. She covers any and all tech news, including issues around social…
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