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Twitter confirms hackers downloaded data of 8 high-profile accounts

Twitter in a blog post revealed that scammers were able to download account information of up to eight accounts. But the company hasn't disclosed the identity of these Twitter accounts.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | July 18, 2020 | Updated 15:23 IST


  • Twitter encountered security breach on Wednesday.
  • Hackers targetted 130 high-profile accounts out of which they could initiate password reset for 45 accounts.
  • Earlier today, Twitter revealed that hackers were able to download account summary of eight accounts.

Twitter admitted data breach on Wednesday when scammers attacked high-profile accounts including those of Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos et al. Multiple reports and clarification from Twitter have been coming since then. Earlier today, Twitter updated its blog post with more details as well.

The company revealed that hackers were able to download account information of up to eight Twitter accounts. Twitter said, "the attackers took the additional step of downloading the account's information through our 'Your Twitter Data' tool." The company's Your Twitter Tool is designed to provide an account owner with a summary of their Twitter account details and activity. The summary sheet may include all the tweets, retweets, and DMs information of the account owner.

The company didn't disclose the identity of these eight Twitter accounts but did say that none of the eight were a verified account. Twitter also announced that scammers targeted 130 accounts in total. Out of those 130 Twitter accounts, for the 45 accounts -the attackers were able to initiate a password reset, login 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," Twitter said. "In addition, we believe they may have attempted to sell some of the usernames."

Now, Twitter is continually working on securing its system to prevent future attacks and restoring access for the accounts locked by the company during cyber attack.

Twitter deletes over 1,70,000 China-linked accounts

While Twitter is officially blocked in China, there are people who still access the microblogging site using a VPN. On Thursday, Twitter announced that it has deleted more than 1,70,000 accounts linked with the Chinese government. Twitter has removed these accounts as they pushed misleading content around Hong Kong protests, Covid-19, and other topics.

Twitter said that the accounts were "spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China" and were deleted for violating its platform manipulation policies.

Twitter said it had identified 23,750 accounts it described as a "highly engaged core network" that were used to tweet content favorable to Beijing and a further 150,000 accounts that were used to amplify the content, for example, by retweeting content posted by core accounts.

The 23,750 accounts collectively tweeted 348,608 times, according to the researchers at Stanford Internet Observatory.

Twitter said many of the accounts had been identified early and therefore had low follower counts and low engagement.

This is not the first such action taken by Twitter. In August 2019, the company removed just under 1,000 accounts believed to be operating within mainland China for "deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong."

Along with China-linked accounts, Twitter also deleted accounts tied to Russia and Turkey. The company removed more than 1,000 accounts which promoted the ruling United Russia party. In Turkey, Twitter ceased activity for around 7,340 accounts which posted content in favour of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AK Parti.

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