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Twitter says hackers 'manipulated' employees to access accounts

Twitter says 130 accounts were targeted in the mass hack that occurred earlier this week
Twitter says 130 accounts were targeted in the mass hack that occurred earlier this week Olivier DOULIERY AFP/File
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Washington (AFP)

Twitter says hackers "manipulated" some of its employees to access accounts in a high-profile attack on the social media company, including those of Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.

"We know that they accessed tools only available to our internal support teams to target 130 Twitter accounts," said a statement posted Saturday on the company's blog.

For 45 of those accounts, the hackers were able to reset passwords, login and send tweets, it added, while the personal data of up to eight unverified users was downloaded.

Posts trying to dupe people into sending hackers Bitcoin were tweeted by the official accounts of Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and many others on Wednesday.

More than $100,000 worth of the virtual currency was sent to email addresses mentioned in the tweets, according to Blockchain.com, which monitors crypto transactions.

Twitter locked down affected accounts and removed the fraudulent tweets. It also locked accounts not affected by the hack as a precaution.

The New York Times reported on Friday the attack was carried out by a group of young friends with no links to a foreign state or organized crime.

However, the hack has raised questions about Twitter's security as it serves as a megaphone for politicians ahead of November's election.

Twitter said it is limiting the information it makes public about the attack while it carries out "remediation steps" to secure the site.

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