Twitter discloses 130 accounts hacked, did employee assist?

Twitter hacked

Reuters) – Twitter Inc has disclosed that about 130 accounts had been targeted and hacked during the cyber attack this week, an incident in which profiles of many prominent personalities and organizations were compromised.

Hackers had accessed Twitter’s internal systems to hijack some of the platform’s top voices including US presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, former US President Barack Obama and billionaire Elon Musk and used them to solicit digital currency.

In its latest statement, Twitter said that the hackers were able to gain control to a “small subset” of the targeted accounts, and send tweets from them.

The company added that it was continuing to assess whether the attackers were able to access private data of the targeted accounts.

The high-profile accounts that were hacked also included rapper Kanye West, Inc founder Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates, and the corporate accounts for Uber Technologies Inc and Apple Inc.

Twitter reiterated that it was working with impacted account owners.

The FBI’s San Francisco division is leading an inquiry into the hacking, with many Washington lawmakers also calling for an accounting of how it happened.

The law enforcement agency said that cyber attackers committed cryptocurrency fraud in the incident. Publicly available blockchain records show the apparent scammers received more than $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

“We’re still in the process of assessing longer-term steps that we may take and will share more details as soon as we can,” Twitter added in its statement.

Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican who closely follows tech issues, pressed Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey on Friday on whether a company employee had been paid to assist with the hack of high-profile accounts this week aimed at scamming readers.

Twitter declined to comment.

Both Republicans and Democrats have urged Twitter to better explain how hackers managed to seize control of influential accounts and used them to solicit digital currency.

Publicly available blockchain records show the apparent scammers received more than $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

Vice had reported that a Twitter insider was responsible for the takeovers of high profile accounts. Reuters has been unable to substantiate this report.

In his letter, Hawley asked Dorsey if there was evidence that a Twitter employee was involved in the hack. If so, Hawley asked if Dorsey was aware of this when he said the attack was carried out following a social engineering attack.

Hawley also asked if Twitter had taken steps to prevent employees from gaining improper access to accounts. “Has Twitter considered and decided against implementing more stringent access control measures in the past?” he asked.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru and Diane Bartz; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Richard Chang)

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