It looks like @JoeBiden & @BarackObama Twitter accounts have been compromised in what appears to be an ongoing hack asking for Bitcoin donations. More on the lengthy list of people targeted today here: https://t.co/AfXfV0dvSQ pic.twitter.com/Vk47Iw7WW0
— Marianna Sotomayor (@MariannaNBCNews) July 15, 2020
As I write this at 5:50 ET, they’ve nicked a former president and current Democratic presidential nominee along with tech titans like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, mega-billionaires like Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg, and Warren Buffett, and the mega-famous like Kanye West. Corporate accounts like Apple and Uber were hit too.
Mercifully, they haven’t gotten to you-know-who, Twitter’s most famous and passionate user. Which is good, because the idea of hackers commandeering the White House’s semi-official messaging platform for an hour or two would give them the ability to tank the stock market, if not start a war.
I mean with Trump there is literally nothing you could say that people would immediately disbelieve. You could start a war this way. Horrifying. https://t.co/UQUaY0wr1H
— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) July 15, 2020
The ominous question raised by the hacks is: How? It’s hard to believe that all of these very rich and famous people had security on their accounts so lax that they could be accessed via a simple password hack, or with a technique as crude as spearfishing. The fear is that hackers got in through the back end, via Twitter HQ, which is terrifying since — one would think — even Trump’s account might potentially be accessed that way. The fact that it hasn’t been implies that the White House and/or Twitter are doing something special to protect access to it.
Although part of me thinks we’re all so inured to Trump’s antics by now that a hacker could get in and post “We have received a message from an alien ambassador orbiting Earth” from his account and everyone would be like, “What’s he watching on Fox & Friends now?”
Twitter’s working on the problem, although some users are calling on them to shut down the platform altogether until this is worked out for fear that the hackers might do more damaging mischief:
We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 15, 2020
“I’m surprised Twitter hasn’t gone completely dark to prevent misinformation campaigns and political upheaval,” the CEO of a cybersecurity firm told NBC. “We are lucky the attackers are going after bitcoin (money motivated) and not motivated by chaos and destruction.” My favorite jokey theory about what happened is that only one A-lister was actually hacked before other A-listers started secretly tweeting out the bitcoin message voluntarily to show that they were important enough to hack too.
Here’s an early clue about what happened. Are all of these accounts really being hacked individually?
Okay since I control @6's account, which got hit in this massive twitter account BTC scam I can give some insight, they're either intercepting SMS on password reset or they're bypassing it somehow. Got this Google Voice SMS code when the account was hacked which had OTP 2FA pic.twitter.com/yQflAUQL6x
— Lucky225🍀 2️⃣ 2️⃣ 5️⃣🍥 (@lucky225) July 15, 2020
As of 6:15 ET, Twitter appears to have locked down all verified accounts temporarily, which is the next best thing to turning off the entire platform. Stay tuned.