FBI investigates major Twitter attack

FBI investigates major Twitter attack
The Twitter attack aimed at major US figures. Source: Reuters
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: The FBI has launched an investigation on major Twitter attack after hackers targeted Twitter accounts of a number of high-profile figures in the US in an apparent Bitcoin scam.

FBI said “The accounts appear to have been compromised” to perpetrate cryptocurrency fraud, urging people to be vigilant.

Major corporate and political figures were targeted by this Twitter attack.

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian, her husband rapper Kanye West, former US President Obama, the current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, and media billionaire Mike Bloomberg, Uber and Apple were targeted.

Their official accounts requested donations in the cryptocurrency, what Twitter said was a “co-ordinated” attack.

On the official account of Mr Musk, the SpaceX and Tesla chief appeared to offer to double any Bitcoin payment sent to the address of his digital wallet “for the next 30 minutes”.

The tweed added: “I’m feeling generous because of Covid-19.”

It also added a Bitcoin address, though the tweets were deleted just minutes after they were first posted.

But while such tweet from Mr Musk’s account was removed, another one appeared, then a third.

The Biden campaign later said Twitter had “locked down the account within a few minutes of the breach and removed the related tweet”.

“This appears to be part of a larger issue that Twitter is facing,” a spokesman for Bill Gates told AP news agency.

The US Senate Commerce Committee has demanded Twitter brief it about Wednesday’s incident by 23 July.

Twitter said in an explanation that the hackers had targeted its employees “with access to internal systems and tools”.

In a series of tweets, the social media giant said: “We know they [the hackers] used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf.”

Twitter also said an internal investigation is now underway and “significant steps” had been taken to limit access to such internal systems and tools.

US politicians have raised questions. In a letter written to the company, Republican Senator Josh Hawley asked if President Trump’s account had been vulnerable.

The White House has said President Trump’s account was not compromised.

UK’s National Cyber Security Centre said its officers had “reached out” to Twitter.

“We would urge people to treat requests for money or sensitive information on social media with extreme caution,” it said in a statement.

Dmitri Alperovitch, who co-founded cyber-security company CrowdStrike, told Reuters news agency: “This appears to be the worst hack of a major social media platform yet.”