Hackers ‘paid Twitter worker’ to take over high-profile accounts
A TWITTER employee was paid by hackers to infiltrate top accounts of billionaires, politicians and celebrities as part of an alleged Bitcoin scam, according to reports.
Posts trying to dupe people into sending hackers the virtual currency Bitcoin were tweeted by the official accounts of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian and many others on Wednesday.
Vice-owned site Motherboard reported that hackers had convinced an employee at the company to grant them access to an internal user administration tool.
Citing leaked screenshots and two unnamed sources, the site reported that the hackers used an employee that “literally done all the work for us”.
A separate source suggested that the hackers paid the employee for access to the tool. Twitter is still investigating whether or not an employee hacked the accounts themselves or gave the hackers direct access to the tool, Motherboard
reported. Hackers also used the tool to change the ownership of some accounts, as well as pump out cryptocurrency scams.
Twitter chief Jack Dorsey described it as “tough day” for Twitter and that everyone “felt terrible this happened”.
Last night the White House said that president Trump, one of the platform’s most prolific users with nearly 84 million followers, will keep tweeting. “The president will remain on Twitter and his account was not jeopardised,” a spokesman said.
The attack caused high-profile accounts such as Apple’s to tweet that they were “giving back to the community” and that other users should do the same using a Bitcoin link. Surrey University
professor Alan Woodward was sceptical of suggestions that a Twitter employee could have been paid to hand over access.
“You’d have to be the silliest Twitter employee because it’s going to be traceable right back to you, it will be a one-way trip out the door into court,” he said. “Everybody has their price, it might be that if somebody offered them enough cryptocurrency maybe they thought they could retire to the sun and that would be it, so it’s a possibility.” Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, former presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg and musician Kanye West were also affected by the scam.
Records suggest that hackers may have made as much as $100,000 (£80,000) from donations through the link. However, at least some of this is likely to be from the cyber-criminals putting in their own money in a bid to portray legitimacy.
Twitter shares fell more than 1pc yesterday.
The official Twitter account of Kim Kardashian West was one of those to fall victim to the alleged Bitcoin scam