Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Threat Intelligence

10/15/2020
03:45 PM
50%
50%

Twitter Hack Analysis Drives Calls for Greater Security Regulation

New York's Department of Financial Services calls for more cybersecurity regulation at social media firms following the "jarringly easy" Twitter breach.

UPDATE: Twitter today confirmed it's investigating irregularity with its APIs. We will update as we know more information about the problem. 

New York's Department of Financial Services (DFS) is calling for greater cybersecurity regulation at social media firms following an investigation into the July 15 Twitter breach. The attackers' ability to achieve "extraordinary access" using "simple" techniques highlights the potential for major security incidents at similarly large and powerful tech companies, researchers report.

Related Content:

Twitter Hack: The Spotlight that Insider Threats Need

2020 State of Cybersecurity Operations and Incident Response

New on The Edge: What's Really Happening in Infosec Hiring Now?

Twitter, a $37 billion company with at least 330 million monthly active users, made headlines this summer when attackers used a social engineering scam to trick Twitter employees into handing over credentials into Twitter's corporate network. As indicated in the DFS report, the hackers claimed they were responding to a reported problem the employee was having with Twitter's virtual private network (VPN). Since switching to remote work, VPN issues were common at the company.

With this initial compromise, the attackers were able to navigate Twitter's internal websites and learn more about its information systems. They learned how to access internal applications and with this learned who they should target to access internal tools needed to take over a user's account. They took over accounts with desirable usernames and sold access to them.

Attackers then turned things up a notch and targeted high-profile accounts belonging to Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Joe Biden, and Kanye West, in addition to companies such as Uber and Apple. They used this access to launch a scam and posted several tweets requesting followers to send Bitcoin – a scheme that netted them about $118,000. 

Shortly after the attack, three individuals ages 17, 19, and 22 were charged for their roles in the hack. As the DFS points out, it was "jarringly easy" for young hackers to break into Twitter and hijack accounts belonging to some of the world's most prominent people and companies. While these attackers were focused on fraud, advanced adversaries could do far greater damage.

This incident underscores the need for strong security to "curb the potential weaponization of major social media companies," officials wrote. Public institutions haven't caught up with the new challenges that social media presents. Other industries, such as utilities, finance, telecommunications, and other critical infrastructure, have established regulation to ensure the public interest is protected. The same should be done for large and systemically important social media companies, they argue. 

"The Twitter Hack demonstrates, more than anything, the risk to society when systemically important institutions are left to regulate themselves," officials wrote. "Protecting systemically important social media against misuse is crucial for all of us–consumers, voters, government, and industry."

Read the full investigation report for more details on the Twitter hack and recommended steps for improving cybersecurity oversight of large social media companies.

Dark Reading's Quick Hits delivers a brief synopsis and summary of the significance of breaking news events. For more information from the original source of the news item, please follow the link provided in this article. View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
More SolarWinds Attack Details Emerge
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  1/12/2021
Vulnerability Management Has a Data Problem
Tal Morgenstern, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Vulcan Cyber,  1/14/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-8581
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-19
Clustered Data ONTAP versions prior to 9.3P20 and 9.5 are susceptible to a vulnerability which could allow an authenticated but unauthorized attacker to overwrite arbitrary data when VMware vStorage support is enabled.
CVE-2021-20190
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-19
A flaw was found in jackson-databind before 2.9.10.7. FasterXML mishandles the interaction between serialization gadgets and typing. The highest threat from this vulnerability is to data confidentiality and integrity as well as system availability.
CVE-2020-27270
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-19
SOOIL Developments CoLtd DiabecareRS, AnyDana-i ,AnyDana-A, communication protocol of the insulin pump & AnyDana-i,AnyDana-A mobile apps doesnt use adequate measures to protect encryption keys in transit which allows unauthenticated physically proximate attacker to sniff keys via (BLE).
CVE-2020-27272
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-19
SOOIL Developments CoLtd DiabecareRS, AnyDana-i, AnyDana-A, The communication protocol of the insulin pump and AnyDana-i,AnyDana-A mobile apps doesn't use adequate measures to authenticate the pump before exchanging keys, which allows unauthenticated, physically proximate attackers to eavesdrop the ...
CVE-2020-27276
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-19
SOOIL Developments Co Ltd DiabecareRS,AnyDana-i & AnyDana-A, the communication protocol of the insulin pump and its AnyDana-i & AnyDana-A mobile apps doesn't use adequate measures to authenticate the communicating entities before exchanging keys, which allows unauthenticated, physically prox...