Twitter Hack Analysis Drives Calls for Greater Security Regulation

Twitter Hack Analysis Drives Calls for Greater Security Regulation
New York's Department of Financial Services calls for more cybersecurity regulation at social media firms following the "jarringly easy" Twitter breach.

New York's Department of Financial Services (DFS) is calling for greater cybersecurity regulation at social media firms following an investigation into the July 15 Twitter breach. The attackers' ability to achieve "extraordinary access" using "simple" techniques highlights the potential for major security incidents at similarly large and powerful tech companies, researchers report.


Twitter, a $37 billion company with at least 330 million monthly active users, made headlines this summer when attackers used a social engineering scam to trick Twitter employees into handing over credentials into Twitter's corporate network. As indicated in the DFS report, the hackers claimed they were responding to a reported problem the employee was having with Twitter's virtual private network (VPN). Since switching to remote work, VPN issues were common at the company.


With this initial compromise, the attackers were able to navigate Twitter's internal websites and learn more about its information systems. They learned how to access internal applications and with this learned who they should target to access internal tools needed to take over a user's account. They took over accounts with desirable usernames and sold access to them.


Attackers then turned things up a notch and targeted high-profile accounts belonging to Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Joe Biden, and Kanye West, in addition to companies such as Uber and Apple. They used this access to launch a scam and posted several tweets requesting followers to send Bitcoin – a scheme that netted them about $118,000. 


Shortly after the attack, three individuals ages 17, 19, and 22 were charged for the ..