Hackers reportedly were given access to an internal tool from a Twitter employee that allowed them to conduct a massive hack on the social media platform on Wednesday, per a Motherboard report.
A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard that it's still unclear if the employee hacked the accounts using the tool or if they gave hackers access to it for them to do so.
Twitter said in a tweet that the company believes the incident was a "coordinated social engineering attack," meaning bad actors exploited insiders at the company to carry out their scheme.
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Hackers behind a cryptocurrency scam took over the Twitter accounts of tech executives like Amazon's Jeff Bezos and many others, including former President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Joe Biden, on Wednesday. Tweets were published from their accounts asking people to donate Bitcoin to multiple cryptocurrency scam addresses.
And per a Motherboard report, hackers were able to do so after a Twitter employee reportedly gave them access to an internal tool. The outlet spoke to two sources who hacked into the accounts Wednesday and also published screenshots of the tool that was used. The screenshots show a panel used to access certain Twitter accounts that were hacked, such as that of Binance, which is how they may have been able to tweet from them.
One of the sources told the outlet that they bribed someone inside Twitter with payment for access. Another said, "we used a rep that literally done all the work for us." A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard that it's still unclear if the employee hacked the accounts using the tool or if they gave hackers access to it for them to do so.
The company also tweeted Wednesday night that it is investigating what it believes was "a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools."
Social engineering is a security term describing attacks in which bad actors exploit the "natural tendency people have toward trusting others who seem likeable or credible." It's a broad term that covers various types of attacks, from bribery to mere persuasion.
Cybersecurity experts told Business Insider's Isobel Asher Hamilton that it's likely the hackers used internal Twitter tools to reset the emails and passwords that were connected to the various hijacked accounts, which in turn would give them access to run them. Such a one-stop-shop internal tool for managing accounts would be a "golden key" for hackers, the experts told Hamilton.
Per the screenshots viewed by Motherboard, some of the accounts may indeed have been hacked by changing the email address tied to them.SEE ALSO: The hackers who took over the Twitter accounts of Joe Biden and Elon Musk may have made off with as much as $120,000 worth of bitcoin — but we may never know for sure
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