There were dozens of high-profile users’ account hacked on Twitter yesterday and the FBI is now working on the case trying to figure out who the culprits were. Accounts of prominent Twitter users hacked includes that of the former US President Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Apple and Uber’s official Twitter accounts and many more including that of Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian.
The effort of the hackers was to scam followers out of Bitcoin and it was reported that the cyber attackers still cashed out with more than US$100,000 worth of Bitcoin. Meanwhile it’s not totally clear whether the hackers were also able to gain access to sensitive information and Twitter is yet to confirm this but stated it was working with those that got their accounts compromised.
The fact that these cyber attackers were able to pose as famous people around the world not to talk of the likes of the former US President or a potential future president that in itself makes everyone question their true safety on the platform which is also why Lawmakers in the Washington DC are requesting the company explain itself.
It’s a matter of national security, so today the FBI confirmed it is investigating the incident. In a statement, the San Francisco Division of the Bureau said:
The FBI is investigating the incident involving several Twitter account belonging to high profile individuals that occurred July 15, 2020. At this time, the accounts appear to have been compromised in order to perpetuate cryptocurrency fraud. We advise the public not to fall victim to this scam by sending cryptocurrency or money in relation to this incident. As this investigation is ongoing, we will not be making further comment at this time.
Although Twitter is headquartered in California, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also announced the state would launch its own investigation:
“The Twitter hack and widespread takeover of verified Twitter accounts is deeply troubling and raises concerns about the cybersecurity of our communications systems, which are critical as we approach the upcoming presidential election. With more than 300 million users, Twitter is a primary source of news for many, making it a target for bad actors. This type of hack by con artists for financial gain can also be a tool of foreign actors and others to spread disinformation and – as we’ve witnessed – disrupt our elections.
“I am directing a full investigation into this massive hack through the New York Department of Financial Services and any other relevant state agency to bring the facts to light. Foreign interference remains a grave threat to our democracy and New York will continue to lead the fight to protect our democracy and the integrity of our elections in any way we can.”
While Twitter isn’t as huge as Facebook, it’s a channel for serious political discuss sometimes making it a really influential platform in itself. This is the best place to hear opinions from top world leaders including those of the US President more often.
Somehow, the Bitcoin transaction done by the cyber attackers weren’t quite as anonymous as many had thought it was according to a report from Engadget which could be great lead for the FBI during their investigation to nab the culprit just depending on how well they’re able to cover their tracks since this is deemed a national security issue at large.
While there might the fingers pointed to other states, this one might just be a self-motivated attacker or a small group of hackers as it’s probably not state-sponsored.