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
12 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
12 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
12 weeks ago
I call this BS. They’re trying to cover up for something else more insidious.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 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
12 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.........

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
12 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

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Photographer Austin Mann Tests the iPhone 12 Pro's Camera

Wednesday October 21, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
Travel photographer Austin Mann usually performs an in-depth review of new iPhone models to test their camera performance in real-world scenarios. To test Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro, Mann traveled to Glacier National Park, Montana. Mann focused on some of the biggest camera upgrades with the iPhone 12 Pro, including the upgraded Wide lens, Ultra Wide Night mode, and LiDAR autofocus, across a...

iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing

Tuesday October 20, 2020 8:48 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery, which is around 7% less capacity than the 3,969 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to a regulatory filing published by TENAA, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC. The regulatory filing, spotted by MacRumors, also lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM as seen in benchmark results last week. Apple has filed ...

5G Drains iPhone 12 Battery 20% Faster Than 4G in Benchmark

Wednesday October 21, 2020 3:17 am PDT by
After the first reviews for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro emerged yesterday, a new report by Tom's Guide reveals the extent of battery life reductions when using 5G. The report outlines a test wherein the iPhone surfs the web continuously at 150 nits of screen brightness, launching a new site every 30 seconds until the battery drains. Interestingly, the test was run on an iPhone 12 and...

Teardown Video Confirms iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Use Same 2,815mAh Battery

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:47 am PDT by
With the iPhone 12 launching on Friday and in just a few hours to Australia and New Zealand, hands-on videos, teardowns, reviews, and other iPhone-related content has been coming out. A new teardown video delves into both the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, confirming battery life for both models and giving us a closer look at their internals. The video from Io Technology is in Chinese, but ...

French iPhone Boxes Come Packed in an Outer Box With Separate EarPods

Wednesday October 21, 2020 6:52 am PDT by
After the news that France would be the only territory to continue to include EarPods with the iPhone, it seems that Apple is not packing the earbuds within the iPhone's box (via iGeneration). Screenshot from TheiCollection's review video The French iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro does not have a different retail box to accommodate EarPods, meaning that all iPhone boxes are consistent...

Some Defective Apple iPhone 12 Cases Shipping Without Speaker Holes

Wednesday October 21, 2020 12:54 pm PDT by
At least two customers who have purchased iPhone 12 cases have received defective cases that do not have speaker holes, which obscures the sound. Photo by Reddit user zarnold16 There have been two separate threads on Reddit from iPhone 12 customers who purchased a case and received one without speaker holes. One customer was told by an Apple advisor that the case wasn't meant to have...

Watch: New iPad Air Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Wednesday October 21, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted on reviews for the new iPad Air ahead of its launch on Friday. In addition to our more detailed review roundup, we've shared a handful of unboxing videos and first impressions of the device below. The new iPad Air via Karl Conrad The new iPad Air features a larger 10.9-inch edge-to-edge display, a faster A14 Bionic chip, and a USB-C port instead of Lightning. It is...

Apple's AirTags Revealed in Newly Published Patent Applications

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:13 am PDT by
Two patent applications filed by Apple appear to depict the company's widely expected AirTags item trackers (via Patently Apple). The filings, which include a large number of images, are titled "Mounting Base for a Wirelessly Locatable Tag" and "Fastener with a Constrained Retention Ring," and describe a wirelessly locatable tag that can be used to determine the absolute location of an...