Earlier this week, Twitter experienced one of the biggest hacks in its history. The Twitter accounts of such high-profile people as presidential candidate Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, as well as those of Uber, and Apple were hacked on July 15 — and it turns out a Twitter employee might have helped the hackers.
Among the other hijacked accounts were Mike Bloomberg, and cryptocurrency platforms Coinbase and Gemini. The hacked accounts falsely announced they had partnered up with an organization called CryptoForHealth which claims it was going to provide people with bitcoin as long as they sent some to an address first, Vice reported.
“We used a rep that literally done all the work for us,” one of the sources told Motherboard. The second source said they paid the Twitter insider, Vice reported.
According to a Twitter spokesperson, the company is still investigating whether the employee hijacked the accounts themselves or gave hackers access to the tool.
Here’s what happened: The hacked accounts were taken over using an internal tool at Twitter, say the sources, and at least some of the accounts appeared to have been compromised by changing the email address associated with them using the tool.
Twitter does not elaborate on what tools the attackers accessed or how exactly the attack was carried out, The Verge reported.
A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard in an email that, “As per our rules, we’re taking action on any private, personal information shared in Tweets.”
Twitter tweeted info on the attack.
“We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools,” the first tweet in a multi-tweet explainer thread reads. “We know they used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf.”
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Some demanded answers from Twitter immediately. Within an hour of the breach, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey requesting more information about the hack and whether the hack affected Trump’s account. Hawley said “please reach out immediately to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and take any necessary measures to secure the site before this breach expands.”
Twitter says it’s currently investigating “what other malicious activity they may have conducted or information they may have accessed and will share more here as we have it.”