Twitter Updates Investigation Progress Following Cyberattack, Government Agencies Join Platform’s Efforts
The Twitter Support account updated a thread providing investigation progress following a mass hack of the platform on Wednesday, July 15. The attack allowed perpetrators to post links promoting a Bitcoin scam to prominent accounts including those of crypto exchanges and figures like Elon Musk and Joe Biden.
On the day of the attack, fraudulent tweets were quickly removed from affected accounts. Twitter Support’s thread warned users that they may not be able to access tweets or reset their passwords while the event was under investigation. The thread said that the coordinated cyberattack targeted Twitter employees with access to internal systems and used this access to tweet to verified accounts. After Twitter regained control, the functionality of all verified accounts was limited to prevent further malicious posts.
The thread promised that the company has limited access to internal tools while the investigation is underway. Any accounts where the password had been attempted to be changed in the last month were locked, but thread authors highlighted that if your account was locked it does not necessarily mean hackers gained access to your information.
On Thursday, July 16 the thread was updated to reflect new developments in Twitter’s investigation. It noted that the company believes 130 accounts were affected. The platform is also looking to determine if non-public data, including direct messages, linked to these accounts was accessed by hackers. Twitter users are currently unable to download their data from the site until it is secured.
The hackers received more than $100,000 worth of BTC, but it may be possible for 14 victims of the scam to retrieve their funds. These transactions are still sitting in the Bitcoin mempool — meaning they have not yet been mined — likely due to low transaction fees attached to the transfers. If these people send Bitcoin with the same inputs to another address with higher fees they will be mined and the previous transfers to the scammers’ wallet will not be approved because of Bitcoin’s validity input protocol because those inputs will have already been spent.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently looking into the hack, noting that the breach is a worrisome sign leading into the the U.S. Presidential Election given the platform’s role in political discussions. President Trump’s account was not affected likely thanks to additional protections attached to his page. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also said that the Department of Financial Services would join efforts to investigate the cyber attack.
By Emily Mason