(UnitedVoice.com) – In a massive breach Wednesday night, hackers threw Twitter into utter chaos. The unknown criminals took over the accounts of several famous figures and high-profile politicians like presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and rapper Kanye West.
The fraudulent tweets sent out by these accounts asked people to send Bitcoin contributions. Several of the messages promised to double the donations if people acted quickly.
Twitter blamed the coordinated attack on hackers who targeted the company’s employees with access to internal tools and systems.
We know they used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf. 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.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 16, 2020
Once Twitter was alerted to the breach, they immediately locked down verified users’ accounts, including many who weren’t hacked. People and organizations with blue checkmarks couldn’t tweet for several hours Wednesday night. President Trump, among many others, couldn’t communicate with his followers most of the evening. Twitter reactivated all of the accounts around 8:30 p.m. EDT.
The hackers got away with more than just a little Twitter chaos. They also made off with a lot of cash. According to reports, in the early hours of the scam, they conned people out of nearly $120,000.
This massive hack highlights the vulnerability of platforms like Twitter. Many influential figures, like President Trump, use the network to announce significant policy decisions. With just a few months before the presidential election, the hack also underscores the potential for bad actors to put out disinformation by impersonating famous people and politicians.
Wednesday’s attack appears to be financially motivated. But we shouldn’t be surprised if more hacks like this are used to spread rumors and falsehoods as election day nears.
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