Twitter Admits Hackers Viewed Direct Messages Of 36 Accounts

Twitter has revealed more information after the unprecedented hack of its internal systems last week.

The platform has now admitted that hackers actually viewed the private direct messages (DMs) from 36 of the accounts involved in last week’s hack.

That hack saw the Twitter accounts belonging to some very public figures and corporations including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, as well as Apple and Uber, tweeting a bitcoin scam that offered to double people’s bitcoin payment.

DMs Accessed

So serious was the compromise that CEO Jack Dorsey issued an an immediate apology for the “co-ordinated” attack that targetted Twitter staff “with access to internal systems and tools”.

Twitter has subsequently confirmed that hackers had targeted 130 Twitter accounts, including Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Mike Bloomberg.

Twitter has also previously said that the attackers downloaded mass data from eight accounts, none of them the verified accounts with blue checks.

Now Twitter support has provided an update on the hack.

“Our investigation continues, but we wanted to share more specifics about what the attackers did with the accounts they accessed,” it tweeted. “Following a complete review of all targeted accounts, here is more detail on what we know today.”

“We believe that for up to 36 of the 130 targeted accounts, the attackers accessed the DM inbox, including 1 elected official in the Netherlands,” said Twitter. “To date, we have no indication that any other former or current elected official had their DMs accessed.”

Twitter said that it is communicating directly with any impacted account owners, and will share updates here when it has them.

It is thought that the elected official in the Netherlands could reportedly be the right wing politician Geert Wilders.

Dutch media last week reported that his profile image had been replaced with that of a cartoon of a black man, and his account’s background image was changed to that of the Moroccan flag.

FBI investigation

So serious is the Twitter hack that the FBI’s San Francisco division has opened an investigation into the hacking.

Twitter of course in headquartered in San Francisco, and the FBI will be assessing whether social engineering was using to get admin privileges to these 130 accounts, or whether a Twitter staff deliberately worked with the criminals.

The FBI has say the hackers committed cryptocurrency fraud, and publicly available blockchain records reportedly show the alleged scammers received more than £93,000 worth of cryptocurrency as a result of the hack.

Meanwhile the US Senate Commerce Committee has demanded that Twitter brief it about the wider incident.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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