In the last couple of days, the internet has been flooded with reports of a massive hack with Twitter accounts. It is alleged that a Twitter employee gained access to Twitter’s user management system and attempted to use it to extort money from Twitter users.
The hacked tweets urged users to send money to a bitcoin address and in return, double the money sent would be returned to them.
Leaked screenshot from today's Twitter hack shows the platform has a "Search Blacklist" and "Trends Blacklist" button for Admins. Twitter is censoring anyone who tweets this image, claiming it violates their terms of service against posting "private information." Spread the word! pic.twitter.com/1DQlGa9Ft5
— Scott C'one (@HardcoreTruther) July 16, 2020
This is kind of a new take on an older method of financial scams. Once Twitter realized what had happened, it immediately restricted access to high profile accounts and “verified” accounts, those with the coveted blue check mark, in an attempt to stop the hackers.
Some of the accounts that were restricted included politicians such Former President Barack Obama, 2020 Presidential candidate Joe Biden, corporate executives such as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, celebrities such as Kanye West, Whiz Khalifa and corporations such as Apple and Uber.
By the time the hack was discovered, Twitter users had already sent upwards of $113,000 to the bit coin account.
Leaked screenshots show Twitter has a "Search Blacklist" and "Trends Blacklist" button for Admins. I can't post it, or they'll censor the tweet for violating their terms of service for posting "private information."
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) July 16, 2020
Michael Borohovski, director of software engineering at the cybersecurity company Synopsys, said:
“Given that numerous high-profile Twitter accounts were compromised as part of this attack — accounts that would presumably be protected by multifactor authentication and strong passwords — it is highly likely that the attackers were able to hack into the back end or service layer of the Twitter application.”
But wait. That was just the beginning of what this hack uncovered.
In several leaked screen shots of Twitter’s an internal software system that Twitter uses to interact with user accounts, it shows that the social media platform has the capability to change the ownership of popular accounts.
BREAKING: Alleged leaked pictures from the Twitter admin control panel that was compromised showcase the buttons ‘Trends Blacklist’ and ‘Search Blacklist’, indicating Twitter DOES have the ability to shadowban it’s users.
— Mike Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey) July 16, 2020
In this instance, when the hack was discovered, the software enabled Twitter to re-take over, in a sense, the accounts that were affected and restore them back to pre-hacked status.
Sounds like a pretty good security feature to have, right? So why is Twitter frantically trying to find all the shared images of the screen shots and delete them?
And why are some of the user accounts that have shared these images suspended for upwards of 12 hours after sharing the screen grab image of the internal software system?
Looking more in depth at these screen shots, there are some particular interesting buttons in these pictures. The two that immediately grab your attention are “Search Blacklist” and “Trends Blacklist.”
These are also the two topics that have the internet world ablaze with emotion.
Could this be the very evidence needed to prove that Twitter has been “shadow banning” or “stealth banning” conservative voices, by making it appear they are not banned or “censored,” when, in fact, they are?
Leaked pictures from today’s hack appear to provide evidence that Twitter indeed can #shadowban users, which it has often denied. Their admin control panel reveals buttons ‘Trends Blacklist’ and ‘Search Blacklist’. What else would a ‘Blacklist’ be? #Hacked #blacklist pic.twitter.com/kKEYXZhzlO
— 🇺🇸Matt Veasey🙏🏻 (@MatthewVeasey) July 16, 2020
Shadow banning has been a term associated with Twitter for several years. In 2018, Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, kept side stepping the questions regarding shadow banning and if Twitter utilizes this technique on some user accounts.
When he was testifying at Capitol Hill, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Congressional Committee for Energy and Commerce repeatedly questioned Dorsey in regards to Twitter’s bias on some platforms, especially those of the conservative nature.
“We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially.”
Dorsey also explained to Congress that Twitter’s algorithms did not have a liberal basis to them. However, this recent leaked software information points to quite the opposite.
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It also is a tad bit suspicious that Twitter is frantically trying to delete all evidence of this screen shot that has been shared.
The person who shared the screen shots of the leaked Twitter information was banned for 12 hours from the social media network for “violating” the rules, allegedly because the shots held personal information on them like the account owner’s contact information.
Dave Kennedy, founder of cybersecurity company TrustedSec, said:
“We don’t know how long the attackers had access or the motives but they caused a substantial amount of distrust for the platforms security. We don’t know who was responsible or if this attack was the only portion of it. We hope twitter will be transparent in the investigation and who was behind the attacks.”
Dorsey and Twitter have been asked to include the FBI and DOJ in their investigation into the links, most notably by Republican Missouri Senator Josh Hawley.
BUSTED! During today's Twitter hack, their internal company interface was also exposed. It shows clearly that they are Shadowbanning people like myself. Please read and share this amazing article by @RecIaimTheNet https://t.co/rNK7SpudzA
— Price of Reason (@priceoreason) July 16, 2020
Hawley sent a letter to Twitter, saying, in part:
“I am concerned that this event may represent not merely a coordinated set of separate hacking incidents but rather a successful attack on the security of Twitter itself.
“As you know, millions of your users rely on your service not just to tweet publicly but also to communicate privately through your direct message service. A successful attack on your system’s servers represents a threat to all of your users’ privacy and data security.”
A Twitter insider was responsible for a wave of high profile account takeovers on Wednesday, Motherboard reports, according to leaked screenshots it obtained and two sources who took over accounts.https://t.co/iQ9Uw6TnEa
— Hamza Shaban (@hshaban) July 16, 2020
It’s been reported that an employee of Twitter helped hackers gain entry into the site.
While this hasn’t been confirmed, Vice.com claims that they spoke with some of those responsible.
“‘We used a rep that literally done all the work for us,’ one of the sources told Motherboard. The second source added they paid the Twitter insider. Motherboard granted the sources anonymity to speak candidly about a security incident. A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard that the company is still investigating whether the employee hijacked the accounts themselves or gave hackers access to the tool.”
Of the deleted tweets that allegedly violated Twitter policy, Twitter posted:
“We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”
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