News

Twitter Hack

By Editorial Staff

While the majority of the world is eagerly awaiting the end of this unpredictable year, it seems we are still receiving more and more news stories that come out of right field. The newest of these unthinkable events is the latest Twitter hack that has had Twitter officials, and many users, in a whirlwind.

The Twitter Takeover

On July 15th, numerous high profile users were subject to a Twitter hack in an attempt to have people send them money through a bitcoin address. Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency that can be bought and sold with almost every currency around the world. These types of transactions cut out any middle man, meaning customers do not have to go to a bank.  Tweets were sent out using numerous verified accounts, many of which were a derivative of what is seen below.

Who Got Hacked?

These are just some of the people impacted: 

Immediately following the posting of these messages, Twitter then disabled nearly all posting rights for those with a blue verified checkmark. These blue checkmarks (located to the right of name) indicate a real page run by a specific influencer. They are used to differentiate from fan accounts or others that might try to impersonate them. While all verified users had limiting tweeting abilities, unverified Twitter users took advantage of this situation and were quick to crack plenty of jokes. 

Twitter also took precautions by:

  • Blocking users from tweeting bitcoin addresses
  • Denying password reset request
  • Other “account functions” being denied

According to the New York Time’s, President Donald Trump’s account was not one of the accounts compromised by the Twitter hack. The President’s Twitter account has numerous security features that allow multiple levels of protection for his account. This was changed after hackers took control of The President’s account in 2017, deactivating it for a number of hours. It is unclear if the hacker’s intent was to even gain access to this account in the first place. 

Just How Far Does This Twitter Hack Go?

With the reach of these accounts totaling over 300 million, it is unclear how many people saw these messages for the short minutes they were all posted. In total, over $117,000, or the equivalent of almost 13 Bitcoin, were scammed through this heist. Since then, the FBI has been investigating these payments, in an attempt to track down who/what is in charge of this breach.

So far, little information has been released about the progress of their investigation, but rumors are definitely circulating as some say that this could be a political move.

It is not known if the users involved with sending money to these bitcoin addresses will get their money back. 

Twitter UsersAccountFollowers
Barak Obama@barakobama120.7M
Kim Kardashian West@kimkardashian65.7M
Bill Gates@billgates51.2M
Elon Musk@elonmusk36.9M
Kanye West@ye29.8M
Joe Biden@joebiden7M
Apple@apple4.6M
Jeff Bezos@jeffbezos1.5M
Uber@uber1M

Many news sources report that numerous Twitter employees did play a part in the hacking, and were complicit with the hackers which gave them full control over all of the accounts. Twitter released a statement saying the following:

“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. 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.”

Increase Use of Twitter For Reliable News

In the recent months, people are turning to Twitter for their source of news, due to many questioning the validity of traditional/popular news networks. Twitter is a valuable resource to get up-to-date information from anywhere in the world. Everyone is able to have a voice on this platform, and provide their input on current events.

While this allows people to gain other perspectives into an event, users have to be cautious as tweets may not be accurate. Twitter is attempting to minimize the  spread of misinformation by posting warnings under tweets, or having users follow links with verified information. Some think that this hacking comes at a very convenient time as we creep closer and closer to the presidential election, which brings up the question about privacy and security across social media. 

Even though this is being seen as the largest social media hacking in history, some limelight is being shed on how everyday users share their data on social media. During the COVID-19 pandemic, and everyone staying inside, the majority of people are turning to their phones, specifically their social media, to get some form of entertainment.

There have been many trends during this period of quarantine, much of which involve posting videos of your house, donating to charitable (reputable) foundations, and posting childhood photos in good fun. Users are now questioning these decisions to post intimate life details, in an attempt to stay safe while online, in an era where almost everything is digitalized.

Are These Hacker’s On Multiple Platforms?

Just when we thought this attack was over, a post from an Instagram account (@Cryptoforhealth) posted a story that wrote, “It was a charity attack. Your money will find its way to the right place.” The description of the profile also read “It was us” with a slightly smiling emoji. It is unclear whether this account had any affiliation with the Twitter hack, but an investigation is underway to get to the bottom of the account. *This account has since been edited.

This article was written by Jake Steel

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