Twitter faces tough questions from across D.C. after hack

Twitter faces tough questions from across D.C. after hack

The first inkling of this week’s massive Twitter hack came at 2:16 PM ET on Wednesday. The wave of tweets touting a fake bitcoin giveaway came to an end shortly after 6 PM .
The federal government will be looking into those four hours for months to come.
Already, criminal investigators and lawmakers have signaled they will be digging into the episode – which saw accounts for high-profile figures from Joe Biden to Elon Musk to Kim Kardashian compromised – to try and figure out what happened, who is to blame, and what the consequences should be.
“It’s going to be a rough patch” for the company, says Adam Conner , who has worked for both Facebook and Slack over the years in D.C. He was the first D.C.-based employee for both companies.
Prominent accounts – including @JoeBiden – sent out a bitcoin scam on Wednesday before the tweets were quickly deleted and the accounts were temporarily locked down. More “It raises some serious issues about how they are going to interface in the public,” Steven Billet , a professor at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, says.
Washington’s tech watchers had expected to spend the next few weeks focused on Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. The CEOs of those four companies are due on Capitol Hill on July 27 for a highly anticipated hearing .
“Twitter is going to be an increasing part of that conversation in a way that is, I think, probably unexpected to them” says Conner, who currently works in technology policy at the Center for American Progress.
Here are a few lines of inquiry Twitter is already facing.
An investigation from the FBI First and foremost, the FBI has announced an investigation.
“At this time, the accounts appear to have been compromised in order to perpetuate cryptocurrency fraud,” the law enforcement agency told reporters adding that they “will not be making further comment at this time.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced the New York Department of Financial Services is launching its own investigation of the incident. The Federal Trade Commission, which has investigated Twitter in the past for security lapses , has not made any announcements but is expected to be involved.
Twitter ( TWTR ) so far has confirmed that the hackers “successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.” CEO Jack Dorsey promised transparency as the company investigates : “[w]e’re diagnosing and will share everything we can,” he wrote.
Based on what we know right now, we believe approximately 130 accounts were targeted by the attackers in some way as part of the incident. For a small subset of these accounts, the attackers were able to gain control of the accounts and then send Tweets from those accounts.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 17, 2020 On Thursday night, the company said 130 accounts had been targeted and that it’s “continuing to assess whether non-public data related to these accounts was compromised.”
It was the first mention by the company of a key question: did the hackers gain access to private information like users’ direct messages?
While it’s still not clear if the hackers gained access to Twitter DMs, this is a vulnerability that has lasted for far too long and isn’t present in other competing platforms. If hackers gained access to users’ DMs, this breach could have a breathtaking impact for years to come.
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) July 16, 2020 Questions remain on Capitol Hill Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) sent questions to Dorsey (and to reporters) before it was even clear the cyberattack had ended.
In the days since, more letters with more questions have gone out. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said (on Twitter) that the attack shows the need to “streamline the [government] response to cyberattacks.” Prominent committees are requesting that the company brief them by the end of next week.

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