September 18, 2020

Volume X, Number 262

September 18, 2020

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September 17, 2020

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September 16, 2020

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Twitter Accounts of Prominent Figures Hacked

Reports have surfaced that the Twitter accounts of prominent companies, politicians and celebrities were compromised on Wednesday, 15 July 2020. Hackers were able to gain large scale access to the Twitter accounts of several prominent and influential US personalities and companies to promote a cryptocurrency scam.

It is concerning that the accounts of prominent figures were targeted and compromised. Given the level of influence and prominence several of those individuals have on social media, the hackers had the potential to cause greater havoc. On this occasion, it appears the hackers were financially motivated to perform the cyber attack by seeking “donations” via Bitcoin. The hackers sent out tweets asking people to donate Bitcoin to an address and the Twitter account holder would double the donation.

Twitter responded to the incident by investigating the security incident, removing messages and preventing a number of verified account holders from tweeting. The FBI is investigating the incident and advised the public not to fall for the scam by sending cryptocurrency to the link cited in the tweet.

At this stage, there is minimal information on the root cause of the incident and how the hackers were able to access the Twitter accounts. Security experts have mused the attack was due to a security weakness in Twitter’s service, as opposed to the account users’ security measures. On Wednesday evening, Twitter stated it believed it was the target of a coordinated social engineering attack that successfully targeted its employees with internal access to systems and tools.

Social engineering is a common method hackers use to conduct cyber attacks which basically involves manipulating a target to make security mistakes. To mitigate the risk of your staff falling victim to a social engineering attack, we recommend:

  • training your staff on the common types of social engineering methods
  • adopting technologies that can minimise malicious software used by hackers, and
  • having policies in place for staff to follow to mitigate the risk of your staff falling victim to a social engineering attack.
Copyright 2020 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 199


About this Author

Cameron Abbott, Technology, Attorney, Australia, corporate, KL Gates Law Firm

Mr. Abbott is a corporate lawyer who focuses on technology, telecommunications and broadcasting transactions. He assists corporations and vendors in managing their technology requirements and contracts, particularly large outsourcing and technology procurements issues including licensing terms for SAP and Oracle and major system integration transactions.

Mr. Abbott partners with his clients to ensure market leading solutions are implemented in to their businesses. He concentrates on managing and negotiating complex technology solutions, which...

Warwick Andersen Technology Lawyer KL Gates

Mr. Andersen is a senior corporate lawyer with a focus on commercial, technology and sourcing projects. He has advised on large scale outsourcing projects, technology agreements for both vendors and customers, corporate support, privacy and telecommunications regulatory work. He has acted for government departments, large listed companies, telecommunications companies and technology suppliers.

Rob Pulham Corporate Attorney K&L Gates
Special Counsel

Rob Pulham is an experienced corporate advisory and transactional lawyer with an active technology and privacy practice representing companies in the energy, manufacturing, mining, retail, health and financial services sectors, as well as government and not for profit organisations. He has extensive experience advising customers and vendors in the technology industry, with particular focus on software licensing, data privacy and protection, and systems integration projects. In his role as a senior corporate lawyer, Mr. Pulham reviews organisational policies and practices...

Keely O'Dowd, K&L Gates, attorney, Melbourne

Ms. O'Dowd is an experienced lawyer with a focus on technology and sourcing projects. She advises on a broad range of technology transactions, including procurement, outsourcing and software licensing. This work includes drafting and advising on a range of IT procurement and supply agreements. Ms. O'Dowd advises a range of corporations on privacy and cybersecurity.