An extraordinary hack attack impacting the big number of most influential and powerful Twitter users once again highlighted how much bad actors target the platform. Also, it raised alarms among all security experts about how the social media giant prepared to deal with these types of threats. On Wednesday, the official Twitter accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Apple, and Bill Gates, among others, faced hacking activity. The hackers used these accounts to ask Bitcoin donations as part of a high-level scam.
An unprecedented hack impacting some of Twitter’s most powerful users again highlighted how much the platform is targeted by bad actors — and raised alarms among some security experts about the social network’s preparation to deal with that ongoing threat https://t.co/OTfK0Uz0al
— CNN International (@cnni) July 17, 2020
Moreover, the malicious security incident was much bigger than any other in the history of Twitter. The hackers didn’t target Twitter for the first time and misused it sometimes in the past. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter’s account, tweeted a series of racist messages and violent tweets after he appeared to target through a susceptible in a text-to-tweet feature of Twitter. Similarly, earlier that year, the Justice Department of the United States two ex-workers for espionage on behalf of Saudi Arabia.
Twitter is the major platform for executives, politicians, journalists, and celebrities to share their news
Twitter officially said at that time, and it limits access to the sensitive information of the accounts to only some specific scrutinized employees. Similarly, fake Twitter accounts claiming to be Elon Musk also used to peddle scams regarding scams in the past. For many years, Twitter exercised an inconsistent amount of influence relative to its real size. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube dwarf user base of Twitter, while Twitter long been a go-to platform for executives, politicians, journalists, and celebrities to make news and shape culture.
Because of that influence, and a list of big names with their verified accounts actively on the platform, hackers got additional attention towards the platform. CEO and founder of Luta Security, Katie Moussouris, said that having a blue checkmark user’s verified account carries a lot of weight for bad actors. Some of these accounts with a blue tick, including many of the ones compromised on Wednesday by hackers, have hundreds and millions of followers, the strength to move markets, and worldwide influence events, making them amazingly valuable targets for hackers.
A professor at Vanderbilt University & cybersecurity expert, Douglas Schmidt said that as information and any news spreads so quickly on Twitter due to which bad actors also attract immediately towards the service. By nature, Twitter projected to be like a wire service, he added. The fewer resources of Twitter than a firm such as Facebook that has a market valuation over twenty times more than that of Twitter, make matters more complicated. Twitter had over fifty-one thousand employees across the world, whereas Facebook had around 48,268 employees worldwide.
The suspicious activity was the result of coordinated social engineering attack
Late Wednesday, the support team of Twitter said that the firm believes that the mishappening was the result of the coordinated social engineering attack by bad people who magnificently targeted some of the employees of Twitter with access to internal tools and systems. Schmidt said that other social media companies may loaded with more sophisticated security systems in place, where no single employee has access to sensitive users’ accounts and information or controls without other guardrails and checks.
In a series of tweets, Twitter said on Wednesday that several affected accounts should able to tweet again. As the technical team is continuing to working on fix the issue, so, this functionality may come and go. The team is also making its effort to bring things back to normal as early as possible. Once they noted the incident, they instantly locked down the affected accounts and removed the hackers’ tweets on these accounts.
Most accounts should be able to Tweet again. 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.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 16, 2020