Twitter Hackers Used 'Phone Spear Phishing Attack' to Pull Off Bitcoin Scam

Twitter has provided another update on the security breach two weeks ago that saw the Twitter accounts of Apple and other high-profile figures and companies hacked by bitcoin scammers.


According to the company, a small number of employees were targeted in a "phone spear phishing attack," suggesting that hackers called some of its staff and duped them into thinking they were speaking with fellow Twitter employees, leading them to reveal the credentials the hackers needed to access internal account support tools.

The attack on July 15, 2020, targeted a small number of employees through a phone spear phishing attack. This attack relied on a significant and concerted attempt to mislead certain employees and exploit human vulnerabilities to gain access to our internal systems.

Twitter previously called the hack a "coordinated social engineering attack" that had targeted some employees with access to internal systems. The internal tools were used to target 130 accounts, and for 45 of those accounts, hackers initiated a password reset and had full access to the account to send tweets.

For the 130 accounts that were breached, which included the accounts of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, former U.S. President Barack Obama, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, presidential candidate Joe Biden, and others, hackers were able to see personal information like email addresses and phone numbers, and for some accounts taken over, additional information was available, including Direct Messages.


Following the attack, Twitter temporarily locked accounts for some users and limited features. Most of those features are now back, but some, such as the "Your Twitter Data" download feature, are still not working as usual.

Twitter says it is taking a "hard look" at how it can improve the sophistication of its internal tools and systems, and in the meantime it has significantly limited access to them until it can safely resume normal operations.

Tag: Twitter

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
2 weeks ago
Despite all the sophisticated security measures a company might take, in the end it’s the human factor that brings it all down...
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
2 weeks ago
My 80 yr old mother gets calls like this and she doesn't fall for it, what kind of training do they provide for their employees if any?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
2 weeks ago
I call this BS. They’re trying to cover up for something else more insidious.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
2 weeks ago


Despite all the sophisticated security measures a company might take, in the end it’s the human factor that brings it all down...

Right. It's always been easier to convince someone to give you the key than figuring out how to make the key.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
1 week ago


Was it just me or it is actually baffling to hear that their employees were victims of a phone spear phishing attack, which somehow gave the hackers access to Twitter's "internal tool"?

This is just bizarre.........

Bizarre that Twitter employees have an internal tool that gives them permission to post in your name on your Twitter accounts. What if Twitter decided to commandeer all those millions of fake or dormant accounts to manipulate or misinform the public?what if they already do this to some extent? And how much editorial power do they have to control what is allowed to ‘trend’ in a positive or negative light? Social engineering should be regulated otherwise it belongs to the highest bidders and advertisers. We’ve already seen how these platforms can be gamed with dark money to cause division and harm.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
2 weeks ago
Was it just me or it is actually baffling to hear that their employees were victims of a phone spear phishing attack, which somehow gave the hackers access to Twitter's "internal tool"?

This is just bizarre.........
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

2020 iMac Teardown Reveals Internal Changes and Similarities

Saturday August 8, 2020 12:44 pm PDT by
A teardown video, shared by OWC, reveals the internal changes in the new 2020 27-inch iMac. The 2020 27-inch iMac was announced earlier this week with 10th-generation Intel Core processors, AMD Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, up to 8TB of storage, a 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, higher fidelity speakers, and...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...

Apple Believes This German Cycling Path Logo Infringes on Its Own Logo

Wednesday May 1, 2019 9:51 am PDT by
Apple recently objected to the logo of a new German cycling path in an appeal filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office, according to German outlets General-Anzeiger Bonn and Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Apple reportedly takes issue with the logo's green leaf and supposed "bitten" right side, attributes the company believes are too similar to its own logo. The logo, registered with the ...

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

New 27-Inch iMac's Storage Affixed to Logic Board, 4TB and 8TB Configurations Have Expansion Connector

Friday August 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
Following a report from German blog iFun.de that claimed the new 27-inch iMac's flash storage is soldered to the logic board, MacRumors has obtained additional information in an internal document for Apple technicians. In the document, Apple says that the flash storage is indeed affixed to the logic board and cannot be removed. However, for the 4TB and 8TB configurations, Apple says that a...