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Twitter says hackers downloaded data from up to 8 accounts

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Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter stated late Friday that hackers who hijacked the accounts of high-profile customers together with former US President Barack Obama and Microsoft founder Bill Gates to tweet out a bitcoin rip-off this week additionally downloaded the data from up to eight accounts.

The firm did not determine who owned the accounts, however stated they weren’t verified. Obama, Gates and different distinguished customers comparable to Tesla CEO Elon Musk and rapper Kanye West who had their accounts compromised have verified Twitter accounts. When a person downloads their Twitter data, it consists of direct messages, pictures, movies, their tackle e book and different info.

“In cases where an account was taken over by the attacker, they may have been able to view additional information,” Twitter stated in a weblog submit on Friday evening. “Our forensic investigation of these activities is still ongoing.”

Politicians and cybersecurity specialists have raised issues within the wake of the widespread hack that the direct messages of a few of the strongest folks on the planet may have been accessed throughout the assault on Wednesday. If there’s delicate info in these messages, hackers may use it for blackmail or ransomware. Twitter’s direct messages aren’t end-to-end encrypted, which might have prevented staff from studying the personal messages.

On Thursday, Twitter stated that the corporate believes that hackers focused the Twitter accounts of 130 customers. Twitter stated Friday that hackers had been ready to reset the passwords of 45 accounts, giving them the flexibility to log into the accounts and tweet. The attackers could have tried to promote a few of the usernames as effectively.

The firm stated it believes the attackers weren’t ready to view a person’s earlier passwords. They had been ready to view private info together with electronic mail addresses and telephone numbers, Twitter stated.

Twitter declined a request for a full record of the focused accounts in gentle of its ongoing investigation, by which it is “continuing to assess whether non public data related to these accounts was compromised.”

Although Twitter has confronted the issue of cryptocurrency scams prior to now, the scale of Wednesday’s assault is uncommon, casting a highlight on the potential safety vulnerabilities of the favored social media platform. Twitter stated it thinks that attackers had been ready to bypass the account’s safety protections comparable to two-factor authentication after they “successfully manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials to access Twitter’s internal systems.” The firm did not say if the staff had been tricked into handing over these credentials or had been bribed.

On Wednesday, the accounts of dozens of internationally well-known figures spanning tech, politics and leisure posted related tweets soliciting donations through Bitcoin. Apple, Uber and different companies had been additionally caught up within the sprawling hack, which Twitter later attributed to a social engineering assault on its staff. 

“Everyone is asking we to give back, and now is the time,” a now-deleted tweet from Gates’ stated, pledging to double all funds to a Bitcoin tackle for the following 30 minutes.

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This is the rip-off tweet despatched from Bill Gates’ account. (The Bitcoin tackle has been eliminated from this screenshot.)


Screenshot by Ian Sherr/CNET

“I’m feeling generous because of Covid-19,” Musk’s tweet stated. “I’ll double any BTC payment sent to my BTC address for the next hour. Good luck, and stay safe out there!” All the tweets had been subsequently deleted and verified Twitter accounts, these with a blue test, had been quickly silenced.

In addition to Twitter, the FBI additionally introduced the launch of probe into the hacking incident.

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