.It’s a coordinated social engineering attack, says Twitter
Some of the world's richest and most influential politicians, celebrities, tech moguls, and companies on Wednesday fell victim of Twitter hack, in what industry watchers have described as Twitter’s worst-ever attack. Top on the list of personalities whose accounts were taken over by the hackers were Microsoft Founder, Bill Gates, former U.S President, Barrack Obama.
Others are SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, former U.S Vice President, Joe Biden, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, and Kim Kardashian West were among the accounts pushing out tweets asking millions of followers to send money to a Bitcoin address.
All of the tweeted messages from the accounts shared a similar language. The tweet from Kanye West's account said he is "giving back to my fans"; the message from Bezos' account said he had "decided to give back to my community"; and Musk's account said "feeling grateful."
Bezos, Musk, and Gates are among the 10 richest people in the world, based on Forbes' calculations. According to the Associated Press, the three men have a combined worth of $362 billion.
Reacting to the incidence on Thursday, Twitter in a statement explained that the company detected what they believed to be "a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools."
"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," the company tweeted.
Twitter said that once they became aware of what happened, they "immediately locked down" hacked accounts and removed the tweets sent on their behalf. Twitter also limited functionality for all verified accounts, including those that showed no evidence of being compromised, while they investigated the issue.
"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," Twitter said. "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 all feel terrible this happened," Dorsey added. "We're diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened."
A spokesperson for Bill Gates confirmed a tweet sent from his account was not sent by Gates himself. "This appears to be part of a larger issue that Twitter is facing," the spokesperson said. Joe Biden's campaign issued a similar statement, saying, "Twitter locked down the account immediately following the breach and removed the related tweet."