Twitter says it’s learning what triggered a massive hack that targeted the social media giant’s top accounts in order spread a Bitcoin scam.
The hackers managed to briefly take over the accounts of former President Barack Obama, presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk on Wednesday. The hack also targeted a number of crypto-related accounts, including Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.
The compromised accounts sent malicious tweets that urged followers to send $1,000 in BTC, with the promise of doubling their contribution.
Twitter says a coordinated attack targeting the company’s employees eventually gave the cyber criminals access to the accounts.
“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.
Internally, we’ve taken significant steps to limit access to internal systems and tools while our investigation is ongoing. More updates to come as our investigation continues. 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.
This was disruptive, but it was an important step to reduce risk. Most functionality has been restored but we may take further actions and will update you if we do. We also limited functionality for a much larger group of accounts, like all verified accounts (even those with no evidence of being compromised), while we continue to fully investigate this.”
Twitter also tells users that they may not be able to tweet or reset their passwords as the company continues to look into the issue.
Based on Bitcoin-transaction records, the wide-scale crypto scheme worked. The address associated with the scam has already received more than 12 BTC worth $110,393 at time of publishing. Nearly all of the funds collected in the wallet are already on the move, with the hackers likely looking for ways to obscure the origin of the funds and cash out.