Sunday, 19 July 2020 08:03

Twitter says attackers used social engineering to gain access

Twitter says attackers used social engineering to gain access Pixabay

Social media company Twitter says it believes miscreants, who were behind a recent scam that attacked several well-known accounts, had targeted its employees through a social engineering scheme and manipulated them into carrying out certain actions and leaking confidential information.

In a blog post issued on Saturday Pacific time and summarising the situation as on Friday evening, the attackers had managed to manipulate a small number of employees and used their credentials to gain access to the company's internal systems and also bypassing the protection afforded by two-factor authentication.

"As of now, we know that they accessed tools only available to our internal support teams to target 130 Twitter accounts," the company said.

"For 45 of those accounts, the attackers were able to initiate a password reset, log in to the account, and send Tweets. We are continuing our forensic review of all of the accounts to confirm all actions that may have been taken.

"In addition, we believe they may have attempted to sell some of the usernames."

The company said it became aware of the attackers' actions on Wednesday and took pre-emptive measures to restrict functionality for many accounts on Twitter.

This included preventing them from Tweeting or changing passwords. This was done to prevent the attackers from further spreading their scam and being able to take control of any additional accounts while the investigation was going on.

The company said that it was unlikely private information of users had been exposed. Of the 130 targeted accounts they said:

"Attackers were unable to view previous account passwords, as those are not stored in plain text or available through the tools used in the attack;

"Attackers were able to view personal information, including email addresses and phone numbers, which are displayed to some users of our internal support tools; and.

"In cases where an account was taken over by the attacker, they may have been able to view additional information. Our forensic investigation of these activities is still ongoing."

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here


The much awaited iTWire Shop is now open to our readers.

Visit the iTWire Shop, a leading destination for stylish accessories, gear & gadgets, lifestyle products and everyday portable office essentials, drones, zoom lenses for smartphones, software and online training.

PLUS Big Brands include: Apple, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sennheiser and many more.

Products available for any country.

We hope you enjoy and find value in the much anticipated iTWire Shop.



iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.


Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous




Guest Opinion

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News