Twitter says hackers 'manipulated' employees for attack that downloaded personal data from some users

  • Twitter said Saturday that digital hackers infiltrated its internal systems this week and targeted 130 accounts, but were only able to take control of 45 of them. 
  • In a statement released three days after the incident, Twitter said the hackers "manipulated a small number of employees" to gain access to the system. 
  • The hackers targeted high profile accounts, including former President Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian, Warren Buffet, and Elon Musk.
  • Hackers received more than $100,000 in cryptocurrency, according to publicly available blockchain records.  
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(Reuters) – Twitter Inc. said on Saturday that hackers were able to download account information for up to eight accounts involved in the hack of its systems this week, but said none of them were verified accounts.

The company said the attackers targeted 130 accounts and were able to reset passwords and take control of 45 of them and tweet from those accounts.

Hackers accessed Twitter's internal systems to hijack some of the platform's top voices including US presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, former US President Barack Obama, and billionaire Elon Musk and used them to solicit digital currency.

Publicly available blockchain records show the apparent scammers received more than $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

The high-profile accounts that were hacked also included rapper Kanye West, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and the corporate accounts for Uber and Apple.

In its latest statement, Twitter said attackers "manipulated a small number of employees" to gain access to the internal support tools used in the hack.

The company said it was holding back some of the details of the attack as it continues its investigation and reiterated that it was working with impacted account owners.

The FBI's San Francisco division is leading an inquiry into the hacking, with many Washington lawmakers also calling for an account of how it happened.

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