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The Verification Check Twitter Hack

Posted by Jennifer Rossi on Jul 16, 2020 11:46:48 AM

Twitter Hack Verified user blog post insurance

 

On July 15, 2020 a number of high-profile, verified Twitter accounts were hacked. The goal seemed to be to push a double-your-money scam using Bitcoin. Some estimate that the hackers were able to net $100,000 in the cryptocurrency in a matter of minutes. These kinds of scams have always been prevalent on social media platforms, but never have so many notable accounts been taken over at once.
What does this mean for businesses that use Social Media, including Twitter, as a channel for promotion and outreach?

What Types Of Accounts Get Verified?

According to Twitter's user help section of their website: "An account may be verified if it is determined to be an account of public interest. Typically this includes accounts maintained by users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas.
A verified badge does not imply an endorsement by Twitter."  Link to help article

What Happened With The Hack on Twitter?

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How Did The Scam Work?

The messages were a version of a long-running scam in which hackers pose as public figures on Twitter, and promise to match or even triple any funds that are sent to their Bitcoin wallets. But the attacks Wednesday were the first time that the real accounts of public figures were used in such a scam.

Here is an example of one of the Tweets from an account that was compromised:

Biden Hack bitcoin scam

The messages were a version of a long-running scam in which hackers pose as public figures on Twitter, and promise to match or even triple any funds that are sent to their Bitcoin wallets. But the attacks Wednesday were the first time that the real accounts of public figures were used in such a scam.

 

Protecting Your Organization Against Ransomware Attacks

 

The Effects Of The Hack: Both Short and Long-Term

  • While Twitter was doing their investigation, verified accounts, including brands and personal accounts were not able to do some actions like Tweet or change their password.
  • By Wednesday evening, the Bitcoin wallets promoted in the tweets had received over 300 transactions and Bitcoin worth over $100,000, according to websites that track Bitcoin’s public ledger of transactions, which is known as the blockchain.
  • We did not have the as-it-happens microblogging and news source that Twitter has become for many people, as seen in the Tweet from a Meteorologist blow:

How Were The Accounts Compromised?

As of right now, Twitter is still completing their internal investigation for what steps happened internally and externally that caused the disruption on the social media platform. One of the early theories that was shared via their support handle is that there was a coordinated Social Engineering Attack focused on Twitter Employees. 

Read More About  Social Engineering Scams

What Should Businesses Know?

While it is important to have key strategies in place for your individual business's social media accounts: limited access for creating new posts, secure passwords that are updated frequently, and Two-Factor Authentication. This event shows how it is also important for businesses and brands to be listening to their own feed- so that if their account is hacked, they may quickly resolve suspicious activity on the account. 

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Topics: Technology, social media, For Your Business, cyber, social engineering, cyber security, Small Business, Risks For Businesses, Cyber Attack