Twitter reportedly gave more than 1,000 people access to its admin panel before hack
Last week, hackers targeted the Twitter accounts of Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and other verified users.
On Thursday, it was reported that more than 1,000 people had access to internal tools that made the hack possible, according to Reuters. (Twitter declined to comment on the number to the publication.)
Both employees and third-party contractors had access to the admin panel, two former employees told Reuters. But it's unclear how many of them had access right before the hack.
Hackers don't always need to find a flaw in a computer network. Instead, they use social engineering to trick or manipulate employees into providing unauthorized access.
“The attackers successfully manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials to access Twitter’s internal systems,” explained Twitter last week in a blog post.
In this case, all the hackers needed was “a small number of employees” to carry out the attack. But hackers had a pool of more than 1,000 people to choose from.
According to the former employees, Twitter improved its cybersecurity protocols after firing an employee it believed was spying for the Saudi Arabian government.
"Last week was a really tough week for all of us at Twitter, and we feel terrible about the security incident that negatively affected the people we serve and their trust in us," said Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey in an earnings call on Thursday. "Security doesn't have an end point. It's a constant iteration to stay steps ahead of adversaries. We fell behind, both in our protections against social engineering of our employees and restrictions on our internal tools."
Dozens of verified Twitter users’ accounts were accessed last Wednesday in the hack. The hackers used the opportunity to tweet out Bitcoin scams from accounts belonging to former President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Kanye West, and Elon Musk. However, it was later discovered that numerous accounts also had their DM inbox accessed and personal data downloaded.
It's still not clear who is responsible for the hack. However, as part of the attack, a number of short, generic Twitter handles were stolen and put up for sale on social media forums. This has led some experts to believe that the purpose of the hack was to take over these accounts.
Both a Twitter and FBI investigation into the intrusion is ongoing.