Twitter explains what happened when its verified high profile handles were hacked

    Most of the verified Twitter had their ability to tweet restored hours later although the platform has cautioned account functionality "may come and go" as it continues to work on a solution. 
    By HT TECH
    | Updated on Jul 16 2020, 09:57 AM IST
    Twitter was inundated with fake tweets that offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.
    Twitter was inundated with fake tweets that offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address. (Pixabay)
    Twitter was inundated with fake tweets that offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.
    Twitter was inundated with fake tweets that offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address. (Pixabay)

    A massive hack in the form of a bitcoin scam hit verified accounts across Twitter including those of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk etc. The social media platform was inundated with fake tweets that offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also tweeted about the hack as he described a ‘tough day’ at work. 

    Twitter took cognizance of the hack almost immediately and responded with - “We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly.”

    Twitter followed that up with - “We’re continuing to limit the ability to Tweet, reset your password, and some other account functionalities while we look into this. Thanks for your patience” after informing users that they will be unable to tweet or reset passwords as Twitter was looking into the matter.

    Twitter Support updated status about two hours ago to announce that most accounts should be able to Tweet again. However, they added - “As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We're working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”

    The platform then has sent out a series of tweets to explain what they know so far about the hack.

    “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 Support explained adding - “We know they used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf. We’re looking into what other malicious activity they may have conducted or information they may have accessed and will share more here as we have it.”

    Twitter said that once they were aware of what had happened they immediately locked down the affected accounts and removed the fake tweets. As a precautionary measure, Twitter limited functionality for all verified accounts, even those that were not compromised as investigations continued.

    “This was disruptive, but it was an important step to reduce risk. Most functionality has been restored but we may take further actions and will update you if we do,” said Twitter.

    Twitter added that they have locked accounts that were compromised and will restore access to the original account owner only when they are certain they can do so securely.

    “Internally, we’ve taken significant steps to limit access to internal systems and tools while our investigation is ongoing. More updates to come as our investigation continues,” Twitter Support said.

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    First Published Date: 16 Jul, 09:07 AM IST
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