On July 15th Twitter accounts belonging to celebrities ranging from hip hop superstars like Kanye West to tech moguls Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos were hacked in dramatic fashion. Well, the drama was that the hacking happened at all.
But in the end, it was really just an old-fashioned heist of sorts. The hackers didn't take over for political reasons or to spark a revolution. They wanted money. Most tweets (they've been deleted) were a variation on this: "I am giving back to my community due to Covid-19! (...) All bitcoin sent to my address below will be sent back doubled. If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000!"
A Bitcoin address followed. And people took the bait.
Corporate Twitter accounts of tech giants like Apple and Uber were compromised as well as accounts of politicians like former President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
According to Business Insider, the hackers acquired over $100,000 USD before Twitter shut things down.
In investigating the hack Twitter shut down numerous features and for a time disabled all verified accounts from posting, including Maxim's. The freezing of "blue checkmarks" gave Twitter something to joke about while the investigation continued, but it didn't last more than two hours.
CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted afterward that "We all feel terrible this happened."
Twitter later disclosed that they discovered what they believed "to be a coordinated attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools." The tweet thread continued:
Business Insider compiled a list of compromised accounts and it's a who's who of social media celebs: businessinsider.com.
The investigation is apparently ongoing.