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Unprecedented Twitter Attack

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High profile Twitter accounts including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Apple were the target of a widespread attack that security experts are calling the worst hacking incident in the company’s recent history.

 

Twitter says the sprawling hack was the result of a “coordinated social engineering attack” on its employees.

This Twitter hack affecting top politicians and celebrities in the United States has helped a Bitcoin wallet receive over $100,000 via at least 300 transactions.

 

What happened? Who was affected? Why does this incident matter?

 
It was a bad day even to Twitter’s standards. In what is being dubbed as one of the “most brazen online attacks in memory”, the most powerful Twitter accounts in America were all tweeting about Bitcoins on Wednesday afternoon. It was a scam, of course, but one that got a social push from the biggest political and entertainment handles in the United States. Twitter tried to regain control and delete the messages, but some of the handles were posting similar messages even after that.
 
“We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools,” Twitter’s support team said late Wednesday.
 
The accounts, along with those of former President Barack Obama, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, and Mike Bloomberg, posted similar tweets soliciting donations via Bitcoin to their verified profiles on Wednesday.
 
“Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time,” the tweet said, promising to double all payments to a Bitcoin address for the next 30 minutes. All the tweets were subsequently deleted.

 

 
 

As Twitter tried to regain control, verified handles across the world went mute for a while and were unable to tweet.

What was the Twitter hack all about?

Around 4 pm Wednesday in the US, many high-profile accounts started tweeting a message saying any bitcoin sent to a link in the tweet will be sent back doubled, an offer the tweet said last just for 30 minutes.

 

Apple and Uber handles were among the first to be impacted, followed by those of Musk and Gates. In a couple of hours, it had taken over the handles of Obama, Biden, Mike Bloomberg and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Around the time handles of boxer Floyd Mayweather and celebrity Kim Kardashian had been affected, Twitter locked most large verified accounts across the US and rest of the world.

However, in the four-odd hours the tweets were live, the Bitcoin wallet promoted in the tweets received over $100,000 via at least 300 transactions.

What is Twitter saying about the incident?

Chief executive Jack Dorsey tweeted: “Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened.”

Twitter’s product lead Kayvon Beykpour tweeted that their “investigation into the security incident is still ongoing”, and promised more updates from @TwitterSupport. “In the meantime, I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry for the disruption and frustration this incident has caused our customers,” he said.

In a series of tweets, @TwitterSupport acknowledged the “security incident” and informed users that they maybe be unable to tweet or reset passwords till the micro-blogging platform reviewed the incident.

 

 

 

The implications are huge given the fact that the most powerful and popular accounts have been hacked. Given the influence Twitter has over political conversations globally, and in the US in particular, the verified handles of so many politicians being compromised at the same time does not augur well for the platform.

This new incident has also shown that social media giants could be more vulnerable than before.

Having a tool like RiskEye during these unprecedented times to keep on top of our social media pages is a must. Not having a full perspective in real-time is where the problem lies. 

We at RiskEye have solved that with our process of live social media listening with actual agents reading risks and delivering a clean validated data in real-time, it means that you are empowered in real-time 24/7/365. 

Online is the new battlefront for brands everywhere.  Whether we like it or not, over 4 billion people are connected to the internet globally and the battlefront is expanding.  The questions for all of us is whether we can keep our brands and businesses safe online and how do we protect our businesses in the real “online” world.

Contact us today to know more!

 

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