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Prominent Celebrity Twitter Accounts Hacked in Apparent Bitcoin Scam

David Paul

,

Twitter

Twitter says that hackers used employee access through the backdoor of their systems to take control of the accounts.

A number of celebrity Twitter accounts have been hacked in an apparent cryptocurrency scam designed to solicit digital currency.

Posts from several high-profile figures, including Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and former US President Barack Obama, asked users to send bitcoin to an address, where they would then receive double back in return.

Twitter said the attack was highly coordinated and targeted its employees to gain access to the accounts. The attacker(s) then “used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf.”

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey put a notice out on the platform, stating: “Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened.

“We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened. [Love] to our teammates working hard to make this right.”

The accounts have had to have some of their activities limited, including preventing some verified accounts from publishing messages for several hours. It said it would restore access only when it was certain it could do so securely.

As well as Jeff Bezos and Barack Obama, other high-profile accounts including rapper Kanye West, investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and the corporate accounts for Uber and Apple.

What makes this latest attack unusual is that the hackers were able to access the accounts at the system level, rather than just individual accounts, meaning it is unknown exactly what other damage could potentially be caused.

The hack is an unprecedented breach and a major blow for Twitter, one of many companies that have reported large cybersecurity breaches. Attacks such as these have caused many to rethink the way they protect people from cybersecurity issues.

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NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) recently announced the release of a cybersecurity framework designed to protect the NHS and the public sector from such attacks.

At the time, Director of Procurement at NHS SBS, Phil Davies, commented: “The launch of this new framework is particularly timely as the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a new wave of cyber-attacks and scams.

“Technology plays a huge part in the way the NHS delivers patient care, so it is vital that healthcare providers keep data secure, whilst being prepared for and resilient against attacks.”

Davies added: “The NHS and public sector have been proactive in harnessing improvements in cybersecurity since the WannaCry attacks in 2017 but there is still more work to be done.

“This framework provides a sustainable and trusted solution to help organisations meet the challenges around cybersecurity head-on.”

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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