On Wednesday night, the verified Twitter accounts of eminent US celebrities and high-profile personages were hacked in what Twitter claimed to be a ‘Coordinated’ attack. The hacked accounts included those of Kim Kardashian West, Kanye West, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Barack Obama.
Reuters news agency was informed by Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of CrowdStrike, a cyber-security company, that “this appears to be the worst hack of a major social media platform yet.” As a precautionary and mitigatory measure, Twitter had to suspend various verified accounts, disabling them from being able to Tweet altogether. The account holders were able to use their accounts by Thursday night.
The hacked Tweet on the accounts read, “Everyone is asking me to give back. You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.” A link was attached with the Tweet that intended to commit a cryptocurrency fraud.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre urged the public to “treat requests for money or sensitive information on social media with extreme caution.” The world’s first Bitcoin billionaire, Cameron W’inklevoss, also warned people about the “scam” and instructed them to “not participate.”
But the malicious message made an easy way to the gullible public and open blockchain data revealed that the link displayed in the tweets was able to garner over $100,000 (£80,000) in the brief span that it was available online.
Previous year, the Twitter account of Jack Dorsey (Twitter’s chief executive) was also hacked, but the firm claimed to have resolved the loophole that had led to vulnerability of the account. But this extensive and high-end privacy nas security breach has opened room for major discussion around hacking and the safety of personal data online, along with getting a lot of criticism and flack for Twitter.
Expressing concern over the latest hack episode, US senator Roger Wicker wrote sharply to the company and affirmed, “It cannot be overstated how troubling this incident is, both in its effects and in the apparent failure of Twitter’s internal controls to prevent it.”
The matter is of critical concern as a massive amount was swindled from thousands of people in a short while by cyber-offender,s using Twitter’s internal system. The user base that Twitter has comes majorly from the US, Japan, Russia and the UK. This platform is the most popular and widely accessible forum for voicing out opinions by numerous prominent figures and influencers, so much so that many tweets have influenced important diplomatic and economic decisions.
This is one of the worst security breaches in history and a major blow to Twitter’s credibility. World Economic Forum cyber lead William Dixon remarked, “Twitter’s reputation is the cost of this cyber-attack,” Apart from a prospective decline in goodwill, Twitter might end up facing legal repercussions as well.
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has said that Twitter and similar organisations need to display “appropriate” degree of security measures. The body has stated that Twitter would be liable for pecuniary penalty if data-protection officers are able to prove that Twitter fell short of protecting the European users.