No One Is Safe: Major US Twitter Accounts Hacked

“You send me $1,000, I send you back $2,000”

If a Twitter account with five followers and a generic profile picture tweeted this, nobody would pay it any mind, and it would have been a largely unsuccessful scam.

Now, when the same offer was tweeted from verified accounts belonging to Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama, among other prominent figures in America, people couldn’t be faulted for thinking it could be true.

Fortunately, the hijackers behind the tweet weren’t smart enough to solicit smaller bucks. The unreasonable amount of $1,000 made people hesitate long enough for Twitter to confirm in a series of tweets that it was indeed a hoax.

Inside Job?

According to a Blockchain report, U.S. senators have demanded an explanation from Twitter about the incident.

So far, all Twitter knows is that the hackers must have coursed through some of the site’s employees who have administrative rights to grant them access.

“We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”

Embed from Getty Images

As pointed out by The Conversation, this seems to be nothing more than corporate speak for an inside job.

See, Twitter has implemented the two-factor authentication on its platform years ago, and this is considered the gold standard of online security.

The story is still unraveling, but one cyber-security expert is thankful that the breach wasn’t as bad as it easily could have been.

“If you were to have this kind of incident take place in the middle of a crisis, where Twitter was being used to either communicate de-escalatory language or critical information to the public, and suddenly it’s putting out the wrong messages from several verified status accounts -- that could be seriously destabilising,” Dr. Alexi Drew told BBC.

What does this mean?

Sinister Implications

People on Twitter are relatively cognizant of financial scams so not a lot of people fell for the recent hack, but what if something else had happened?

What if the verified account of the White House was hacked and a tweet was put out that the president had been assassinated? The impact would have been incredible and would go far beyond financial losses.

Needless to say, the entire nation is awaiting Twitter’s explanation as to what exactly happened, and for assurance that worse, inexplicable breaches will not take place moving forward.

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July 18, 2020




Rosabell Toledo


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