Twitter is in one hot mess this week after it suffered its worst ever security breach and account hacking incident. Sh1tloads of major brands (Apple, Uber) and highly-followed public figures (Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Obama, Joe Biden…) all had their accounts compromised. The compromised accounts then pumped out a Bitcoin scam tweet which netted the hacker(s) around $117,000
that an internal Twitter admin tool was accessed by the hacker(s) and used to gain control of accounts to tweet out the scam. According to Vice’s sources
, they also changed the ownership of some accounts with highly-prized one- and two-letter handles. One source claimed a Twitter employee was paid to assist in the operation.
This hack comes at the worst possible time for Twitter, what with the upcoming US elections where governments, regulators, and users are already lacking confidence and trust in social media platforms to maintain election integrity. Twitter (and rival platforms) hardly have a stellar record when it comes to data privacy and election interference. This latest incident adds fuel to the fire already raging around social media platforms failing to protect their users and the risks to society when things go wrong. And when you have hundreds of millions of users, the impact of even small incidents can be huge.
After what must have felt like an eternity for @jack and his team(s), Twitter finally got on top of the incident some four or so hours later. And only after taking the drastic step of temporarily blocking all verified accounts from tweeting. That alone signals just how serious the incident was. And it pissed off blue tick users no end
I imagine that Facebook and TikTok will be thankful for Twitter taking the critical media spotlight off them for at least 24 hours. But although Twitter will get most of the heat for the hack, the incident only serves to remind those seeking to rein in these platforms that social networks are a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands.