The recent hack of high-profile Twitter accounts was not the work of professionals linked to organized crime, but a group of young friends, the New York Times reported on Friday.
All of this started with a playful message between friends on the online chatting platform Discord. The hacker with the username “Kirk” approached two others with the username “lol” and “ever so anxious” and told them that he worked for Twitter. He then demonstrated that he could take over almost any Twitter account since he had insider access to the company’s computer networks.
This allowed him to take over the most high-profile Twitter accounts including former American president Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Joseph R. Biden Jr., and many other celebrities. Luckily for Twitter, the hackers did nothing worse than a simple bitcoin scam.
These fraudulent posts were removed quickly, but more than $100,000 worth of bitcoin was transferred to different email accounts mentioned in the tweets. Twitter believes that approximately 130 accounts were hijacked as part of the attack. However, the other hackers stopped working with “Kirk” as soon as they discovered that high-profile accounts were involved.
Brian Krebs from Krebs on Security said that some hackers are obsessed with hijacking early social media accounts with short profile names. This is because possession of these accounts confers a measure of status and wealth and these accounts can be sold for thousands of dollars on the dark web.
The basic details of who these hackers were or how they did it still remain unknown. Officials are still in the early stages of investigation and the aforementioned details only came to light when the hackers spoke to the New York Times. They did not reveal their exact whereabouts but did mention that one of them was 19 and the other was in their 20s.