Remember a few days ago when some of the most prominent public figures took to Twitter to ask for Bitcoin in exchange for doubling your money?
If you haven’t heard yet, that was fake. No, Joe Biden, Barrack Obama, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Warren Buffett or even Elon Musk didn’t ask for the digital currency. It was simply a successful cyber attack that targeted political, corporate and cultural elites that was born on the online messaging platform Discord, according to the New York Times.
According to The Times, reporters spoke with four people who participated in the scheme. They shared logs and screen shots of the conversations they had last week to demonstrate their involvement. Their story was fact checked and apparently verified.
The interviews indicate that the attack was not the work of a single country like Russia or a sophisticated group of hackers. Instead, it was done by a group of young people — one of whom says he lives at home with his mother — who got to know one another because of their obsession with owning early or unusual screen names, particularly one letter or number, like @y or @6.
The Times verified that the four people were connected to the hack by matching their social media and cryptocurrency accounts to accounts that were involved with the events on Wednesday. They also presented corroborating evidence of their involvement, like the logs from their conversations on Discord, a messaging platform popular with gamers and hackers, and Twitter.
Once screenshot of the conversation that was shared with the Times indicated that one of the group works for Twitter and was able to take control of high-profile Twitter accounts. Since the individual was so willing to damage the company, it’s unclear if the Discord user actually was a twitter employee.
However, he did have access to the social media company’s most powerful tools, which allowed him to take control of virtually any Twitter account.
It’s also unclear how much private information was taken from the accounts, like private conversations on Twitter.
The Times’ account of the attack, as told to them by the anonymous hackers known only by their screen names, is lengthy, in-depth and frankly an indictment on the cybersecurity and privacy practices of social media companies. Go read it for yourself to learn more.