San Francisco, United States:
Hackers who were involved in the high-profile hijacking of Twitter accounts earlier this week were young friends with no connection to state or organized crime, the New York Times reported on Friday.
The attack, which Twitter and the federal police are investigating, began with a playful message between hackers on the Discord platform, a chat service popular with players, according to the Times.
The newspaper said it interviewed four people who participated in the hacking and shared logs and screenshots to back up their reports about what happened.
"The interviews show that the attack wasn't the work of a single country like Russia or a sophisticated group of hackers," the Times reported.
"Instead, it was done by a group of young people – one of them says he lives at home with his mother – who got to know each other because they were obsessed with early or unusual screen names, especially a letter or number like @y or @ 6. "
The massive hack of high profile users from Elon Musk to Joe Biden has raised questions about Twitter's security as it serves as a megaphone for politicians before the November election.
"Based on what we currently know, we believe the attackers have somehow targeted approximately 130 accounts as part of the incident," Twitter said in a tweet.
"For a small subset of these accounts, the attackers could take control of the accounts and then send tweets from those accounts."
Posts trying to get people to send hackers the virtual currency bitcoin were tweeted on Wednesday by official accounts from Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and many others.
Twitter said it appeared to be a "coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully attacked some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools."
& # 39; Original gangster & # 39; accounts
Fraudulent posts, which were largely deleted, said people had 30 minutes to send $ 1,000 to Bitcoin in cryptocurrency and promised they would get twice as much.
According to Blockchain.com, which monitors crypto transactions, Bitcoin worth over $ 100,000 was sent to the email addresses mentioned in the tweets.
Young hackers interviewed by the Times said that a mysterious user named "Kirk" initiated the program with a message and was the one who had access to Twitter accounts.
They claimed that they were only involved in commanding lesser known Twitter accounts, especially to cross out coveted shorthands like an "@" sign and individual letters or numbers that the report says could be easily sold.
The young hackers claimed that they had stopped serving as "Kirk" middlemen when high profile accounts became targets.
According to Brian Krebs from Krebs on Security, some hackers are "obsessed" with kidnapping "Original Gangster" social media accounts that were short-named in the early days of service.
"Having these OG accounts gives the SIM exchange circles a degree of status and perceived impact and prosperity, as such accounts can often bring in thousands of dollars when sold underground," Krebs said in a post.
Hackers involved in the attack on Twitter promoted account names on an OGusers.com website and, according to the Times report, requested payment in Bitcoin.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)