Twitter fell victim to a hacking attack run by unknown actors. The hackers targeted the platform’s back end staff panel and used it to send tweets from top-most popular accounts. American political figures, content creators, entertainers, and many more celebrities fell victims to the hack. The hackers scammed hundreds by sending malicious tweets from different accounts.
This Twitter scam created a worldwide buzz on social media after hackers took over a large number of popular accounts. The hackers asked the account followers to send a Bitcoin payment – after which they would send back a double amount of the deposited money.
The July 15 event reportedly occurred in waves, with Twitter struggling to contain the situation. This hack is considered to be among the most audacious online attacks in recent history.
The attack started out with Twitter accounts belonging to notable figures in the cryptocurrency world. Later on the attackers extended the attack to account belonging to high profile people.
Some of the celebrities to be affected include former U.S. Vice President, current Presidential Candidate Joe Biden and the former U.S. President Barack Obama. Bill Gates, Elon Musk and many more high profile people were also affected by these attacks.
A large scale Social Engineering Attack
As soon as Twitter detected the attacks, the support team swung into action trying eliminate the hackers. They started by deleting all the messages although similar tweets were posted again from the same profiles. This aspect strongly suggested that Twitter had a difficult time handling the situation.
Eventually, the social media giant was prompted to disable significant faculties of its services, including the ability of verified accounts to send tweets. The situation was sustained for a couple of hours as the company rushed to prevent the online attack from becoming exacerbated.
The company tweeted an update to users about the incident. The published post notified users that the affected accounts had been temporarily locked. Twitter stated that restoration of access to the account owners would only occur after a confirmation that Twitter has been fully secured.
According to Twitter’s investigation into the attack, they found that the attack was only made possible employees with access to the company’s internal systems leaked their information to hackers.
A Twitter spokesperson commented on the incident, calling it a “ social engineering attack”. The threat actors tricked targets into giving up their credentials. It is through that this is the method that hackers used to access the firm’s internal systems and publish the tweets using prominent accounts.
Although the hackers had full access to Twitters internal systems they only asked for bitcoins. the latest breach seems to have shaken the international cybersecurity scene. Perpetrators could have possibly caused far greater havoc. Rather than asking for Bitcoin, hackers could have exploited globally-important institutions and infrastructure.
Gone without a trail
By the evening of July 15, more than 300 transactions were reported. The attackers left with more than $110,000 overnight. The information was provided by online platforms that specialize in the analysis of Bitcoin’s ledger of transactions.
As it stands, experts have not succeeded at identifying the perpetrators of the online attack. Very little evidence was left behind by the attackers although some observers may be quick to consider the involvement of North Korean hackers.
Otherwise, according to one intelligence expert, the nature of this cyber-attack suggests that the breach was conducted by an individual attacker rather than a state. The fact that the attack did not focus on stock market disruptions of the grand scale indicate that the hacker or group of hackers were rather “amateurish”.
As far as Twitter is concerned, it can be inferred that the attack took advantage of the platform’s internal security flaws rather than those of its account holders.