Twitter

Hacker attack obviously had completely different targets

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

.uspg
US PRESS GROUP

Twitter says up to 8 accounts had all their data downloaded during its giant hack suggesting the hackers were after more than just Bitcoin.

The hackers who hijacked dozens of high-profile Twitter accounts this week may have had a second, less visible purpose.

The hack took place on Wednesday when the hackers successfully gained access to accounts belonging to public figures, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Kim Kardashian, as well as some company accounts like Apple and Uber.

Hijacking these accounts, the hackers tweeted out a Bitcoin scam, asking followers to send Bitcoin to a specific wallet address and promising to send back double the amount.

Twitter said on Friday that it believed 130 accounts were affected by the hack, and that only a "small subset" actually tweeted anything.

Later that same day in a blog post, Twitter offered some more detail.

"As of now, we know that they accessed tools only available to our internal support teams to target 130 Twitter accounts. For 45 of those accounts, the attackers were able to initiate a password reset, login to the account, and send Tweets," Twitter said.

But sending tweets to a Bitcoin scam doesn't appear to have been the hackers' only objective.

Out of the 130 compromised accounts, Twitter says up to eight had their data fully downloaded by the hackers using the "Your Twitter Data" tool, allowing users to download all the data relating to their account, including their private messages.

Twitter said none of these eight accounts were verified, suggesting they may not have been any of the high-profile celebrity or company accounts that tweeted links to the Bitcoin scam. However, some of the hijacked accounts were popular but unverified accounts (e.g. the popular @TheTweetOfGod).

Twitter gave no details on which accounts these were or what they might have in common. Numerous reports have linked the attack with a community of hackers obsessed with so-called "OG" accounts with super-short Twitter handles.

Cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs reported that hours before the Bitcoin links started being tweeted on Wednesday, a handful of OG accounts, including "@6," were also hijacked.

Twitter also provided more detail about how the hackers managed to crack into its systems.

Twitter said the hackers had managed to gain access to an internal company tool using a "coordinated social engineering attack".

Social engineering is a term which means hackers manipulate, trick, or convince their target to hand over access to a system, rather than technically hacking.

"The attackers successfully manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials to access Twitter's internal systems, including getting through our two-factor protections," Twitter said in its Friday blog.

It did not say how the employees were manipulated. On Thursday, Motherboard reported that a source who took part in the hack claimed the attackers paid a Twitter employee.

In its blog, the company said it would be implementing extra training to guard against social engineering.

Twitter says it is still investigating the attack and is working with law enforcement. The FBI is looking into the hack.

The company said it is also restoring access to the account holders who were locked out while it sought to reestablish control of the situation.

At least one affected account appears to have gone back to its owner, as Tesla's Elon Musk started tweeting again late on Friday.

Read more

Watchdog investigates seizure of Democrats’ phone data

The US justice department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation on Friday after revelations that former president Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks inquiry related to the Russia investigation into Trump’s conduct.

Trump feared Democrats would replace Biden with Michelle Obama, book claims

Donald Trump called Joe Biden a “mental retard” during the 2020 election, a new book says, but was reluctant to attack him too strongly for fear the Democrats would replace him with Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. Biden went on to beat Trump by more than 7m in the popular vote and by 306-232 in the electoral college, a result Trump deemed a landslide when it was in his favor against Clinton in 2016.

Intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters

The deadly insurrection at the US Capitol was “planned in plain sight” but intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters, a Senate investigation has found. The Capitol police intelligence division had been gathering online data since December about plots to storm the building on 6 January, including messages such as: “Bring guns. It’s now or never.” But a combination of bad communications, poor planning, faulty equipment and lack of leadership meant the warnings went unheeded, allowing the insurrectionists to overrun the Capitol and disrupt certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Five people died.

Attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci grow more intense, personal and conspiratorial

For over a year, Anthony Fauci has been a bogeyman for conservatives, who have questioned his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and accused him of quietly undermining then-President Donald Trump. But those attacks took on a whole new level of vitriol this week, to the point that one social media analysis described it as highly misleading and at least one platform pulled down some posts, citing false content. It all stemmed from a tranche of Fauci’s emails that were published as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by various news outlets. Within hours of publication, the hashtag #FauciLeaks was trending on Twitter.