24 July 2020
Twitter has issued an update on the major hack and Bitcoin scam that happened on its platform earlier this month. The blog post talks about the process using which unauthorized access was gained to high-profile Twitter accounts along with data on the accounts that were victims of the attack. It wraps by mentioning steps that have been taken to keep the platform safe in the future.
Starting with the hack, Twitter says hackers performed a phone spear-phishing attack to gain access. It says that the attack "relied on a significant and concerted attempt to mislead certain employees and exploit human vulnerabilities to gain access to our internal systems." They sent bogus messages disguised as genuine messages to select employees and tricked them into sharing access details for internal support tools.
It has also made it clear that "not all of the employees that were initially targeted had permissions to use account management tools, but the attackers used their credentials to access our internal systems and gain information about our processes." Eventually, hackers managed to get hold of 130 Twitter accounts and tweeted from 45 of them. They also accessed inbox messages of 36 accounts and downloaded Twitter data for 7 accounts.
For the uninitiated ones, it was on July 16th that a bunch of reputed and influential Twitter accounts started tweeting a Bitcoin deposit link where they urged their followers to send money. They enticed followers by asking to send back double the money they would submit at the shared URL. Since tweets came from accounts like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Apple, many people fell for the scam, and hackers are said to have made over $100,000 during the time.