On Wednesday, a string of high-ranking Twitter profiles were hijacked, including some of platform`s distinguished voices – U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality television show star Kim Kardashian, former U.S. President Barack Obama, billionaire Elon Musk, and rapper Kanye West, among many others to obtain digital currency.
Just approximately a couple of hours after the first wave of hacks, the cause of the breach still remains a mystery. As a matter of seriousness of the problem, Twitter adopted an extreme approach of preventing at least a few verified accounts from publishing messages altogether.
The fact still remains unclear as to whether certain verified users were affected but, incase they were, it would pose a huge impact on the platform and its users. Verified users take to include celebrities, journalists, and news agencies as well as governments, politicians, heads of state, and emergency services.
Twitter has not yet justified the matter but issued a statement that users “may be unable to tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident.”
The unusual scope of the problem lies on the fact that hackers may have acquired entry at the system level, rather than through individual accounts. However, account compromises are quite common, experts were dumbfounded by the sheer scale and coordination of Wednesday`s incident.
“This appears to be the worst hack of a major social media platform yet,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of cybersecurity company CrowdStrike.
Some experts believe that it might be probable that hackers had access to Twitter`s internal infrastructure.
“It is highly likely that the attackers were able to hack into the back end or service layer of the Twitter application,” said Michael Borohovski, director of software engineering at security company Synopsys.
“If the hackers do have access to the backend of Twitter, or direct database access, there is nothing potentially stopping them from pilfering data in addition to using this tweet-scam as a distraction,” he said.
Twitter informed Reuters before 5 p.m. EDT that it was inquiring what it later termed a “security incident” and would be releasing a statement soon. However, even at 7 p.m. the company were still unable to clarify on what exactly occurred.
Shares in the social media company collapsed almost 5 percent in trading after the market close before paring their losses.
Previously, some of the platform`s biggest users were found struggling to restore control of their Twitter accounts. As in the case of billionaire Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, for instance, one tweet soliciting cryptocurrency was excluded followed by exclusion of another series of tweets.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and the corporate accounts for Uber and Apple were also heavily affected. Several accounts of cryptocurrency-focused organizations were also hijacked. Summing up, the affected accounts had tens of millions of users.