- Title: Twitter hack unlikely state orchestrated - expert
- Date: 16th July 2020
- Summary: HELSINKI, FINLAND (JULY 16, 2020) (REUTERS) SOUNDBITE (English) CHIEF RESEARCH OFFICER, F-SECURE, MIKKO HYPPONEN SAYING: "We are aware of three different things that the attackers were doing once they gained access. First of all, they were sending these tweets with these Bitcoin scams trying to make money. Second of all, they were also sending direct messages, private messages in the names of the celebrities trying to get people to subscribe to their services, again, using Bitcoin. And the third thing we know they were doing is that they were taking over valuable account names like very short Twitter names so they could sell them further." LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JULY 16, 2020) (REUTERS) PERSON AT COMPUTER
- Embargoed: 30th July 2020 14:26
- Keywords: Bill Gates Elon Musk Twitter hack
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM, HELSINKI, FINLAND, INTERNET
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM, HELSINKI, FINLAND, INTERNET
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Information Technologies / Computer Sciences,Science
- Reuters ID: LVA002CN28BWN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The extraordinary hacking spree that hit Twitter on Wednesday (July 15), leading it to briefly muzzle some of its most widely followed accounts, is drawing questions about the platform's security and resilience in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election.
Twitter said late on Wednesday hackers obtained control of employee credentials to hijack accounts including those of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, former president Barack Obama, reality television star Kim Kardashian, and tech billionaire and Tesla founder Elon Musk.
Posing as celebrities and the wealthy, the hackers asked followers to send the digital currency bitcoin to a series of addresses. By evening, 400 bitcoin transfers were made worth a combined $120,000 (Â£95,564). Half of the victims had funds in U.S. bitcoin exchanges, a quarter in Europe and a quarter in Asia, according to forensics company Elliptic.
In a series of tweets, the company said: "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."
The hackers then "used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf."
The company statements confirmed the fears of security experts that the service itself - rather than users - had been compromised.
One cyber security expert told Reuters that judging by what the hackers did once they gained access to the accounts, the attack was unlikely to be state orchestrated.
Twitter's role as a critical communications platform for political candidates and public officials, including President Donald Trump, has led to fears that hackers could wreak havoc with the Nov. 3 presidential election or otherwise compromise national security.
(Production: Natalie Thomas)
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