Inside Story of How Hackers Sold the Twitter Accounts

Just a few days ago, hackers hijacked the Twitter accounts of Bill Gates, Kanye West, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, and other high-profile personalities for a cryptocurrency scam that caught the world napping. The hackers tweeted from the compromised Twitter accounts and asked for Bitcoin donations to a given crypto account in exchange for double the donation within 30 minutes.

Twitter expressed remorse with the data breach, adding that the hackers targeted the Twitter accounts of 130 people and succeeded in resetting the passwords of 45 users while downloading sensitive data from eight accounts. The downloaded files included direct Twitter messages, photos, address books, videos, phone numbers, emails, and other personal information. The micro-blogging site said they had launched a forensic investigation to get to the root of the hack.

“We’re acutely aware of our responsibilities to the people who use our service and to society more generally,” Twitter wrote. “We’re embarrassed, we’re disappointed, and more than anything, we’re sorry. Our forensic investigation of these activities is still ongoing.”

Twitter stated that the hackers may have bypassed the two-factor authentication and other security protections of the targeted accounts before launching their attacks. The micro-blogging website said the hackers “successfully manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials to access Twitter’s internal systems.” However, The New York Times revealed they spoke with the hackers and got first-hand information on how the whole bizarre events went down.

According to The NY Times, it started when a Discord user named “Kirk” reached out to another hacker named “lol” to claim he worked at Twitter and was capable of hacking into the accounts of high-profile personalities. Kirk demonstrated this by actually hacking into the accounts of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Joe R. Biden Jr., and others and showing off the account dashboards to “lol”.

Kirk asked lol to recruit two other hackers, “ever so anxious” and another hacker, making a total of four hackers who actually orchestrated the Twitter invasion. The NY Times said they analyzed numerous logs and screenshots of the conversations the hackers had as well as the proofs of the transactions they carried out. It is certain these are not Russian hackers as widely speculated.

The NY Times was able to get in touch with the hackers through the help of Haseeb Awan, a California security researcher who claimed the hackers had earlier targeted his startups. Ultimately, Kirk sidestepped the other three hackers and made away with 20 BTC which amounts to about $180,000 according to “ever so anxious.”

However, the world is still reeling from the effects of the massive Twitter hack and the incident shows the potential security vulnerabilities in Twitter. The FBI has also announced they are investigating the matter.