Jul 16, 2020
On Wednesday 15th July, an unprecedented attack on several high-profile Twitter accounts took place. Hackers hijacked several accounts with millions of followers – such as Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, etc – and tweeted a message that promoted the address of an unknown Bitcoin wallet. The message was asking people to send BTC to the wallet and that in exchange they will receive double the amount back.
According to Twitter, the hack is a “coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.” Following the initial posts, accounts of Bill Gates, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West as well as Uber and Apple posted similar messages. “Once we became aware of the incident, we immediately locked down the affected accounts and removed Tweets posted by the attackers,” Twitter announced, “We have locked accounts that were compromised and will restore access to the original account owner only when we are certain we can do so securely.”
Allegedly, the hackers gained access to a Twitter “admin” tool on the company’s network from where they were able to access high-profile accounts. The tool allows Twitter employees to gain control of a user’s account, tweet, and even change the email address connected to it. The hacker behind the incident, who goes by the nickname ‘Kirk’, managed to generate over $100,000 in a matter of hours.
Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened.
We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened.
💙 to our teammates working hard to make this right.
— jack (@jack) July 16, 2020
In order to regain control over their platform again, Twitter briefly suspends some account actions and would not allow verified users to post. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey commented that the company is doing everything to investigate the situation thoroughly.