My colleague Bonchie reported on Wednesday’s Twitter hack earlier, an attack that took over blue check accounts like those of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, with the accounts then pitching Bitcoin.
Bonchie focused on the images of Twitter’s secret admin panel. What was shown there? The ability to shadow-ban and trend-ban, both things conservatives have suspected existed for years despite denials from Twitter itself.
But there’s a bigger problem, and that’s the incredible potential national security problems that this Twitter hack reveals.
From Tech Crunch:
Several high-profile accounts, including @apple and @binance, as well as celebrities @billgates, @jeffbezos and @elonmusk — which collectively have 90 million followers — were hacked as part of the mass account hijackings.
A public record of the cryptocurrency wallet showed hundreds of transactions, amounting to more than $100,000, in just a few hours.
Twitter later confirmed that hackers launched a “coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”
A hacker with direct knowledge of the Twitter incident told TechCrunch that another hacker, who goes by the handle “Kirk,” gained access to an internal Twitter “admin” tool, which they then used to hijack high-profile Twitter accounts and spread the cryptocurrency scam.
They had access to virtually any accounts because of the tool. Those accounts could have had their DMs grabbed because they’re not encrypted.
Imagine the implications of that. Obama and Biden’s accounts were accessed. Imagine what they could have had on them and how that could be used.
“Absolutely, 100 percent that the DMs could have been compromised,” Jackie Singh, founder of Spyglass Security, told Newsweek. “I mean it looks like they had ‘god mode’ with seemingly few limitations and we don’t know how long they had it for.”
Singh said the hackers responsible—who remain unidentified at the time of writing —appeared to have more control than simply posting updates. They were seen tweeting from compromised accounts, while some posts promoting the cryptocurrency scam had been pinned to the top of multiple hijacked profiles.
Some cyber experts noted today that if hackers had the ability to change emails linked to the profiles, it meant they likely could have orchestrated full account takeovers.
Then imagine that someone is able to do this again, and what they could do with this ability to access such accounts simultaneously. Because of the manner in which we’ve come to rely upon Twitter, they could wreak world chaos instantly.
So, who was behind this? Some doubt it was just about Bitcoin and note it followed President Donald Trump’s amazing and needed Executive Order the day prior holding China accountable for its treatment of Hong Kong and which allows assets to potentially be stripped from away from anybody helping the oppression of Hong Kong. China has assets all over the U.S. that could conceivably be grabbed. The administration has called out the danger of Tik Tok, which doesn’t even need hacking. Right now that’s speculation without more evidence, but they certainly have the motive.
The FBI is now investigating, so hopefully we find out.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is calling on Twitter to secure its platform.
— Saurabh Sharma (@ssharmaTX) July 15, 2020
Still, this is a truly troubling thing to contemplate.