All of the accounts’ tweeted messages shared similar language. Kanye West’s account tweet said that he “gave back to my fans”; the message from Bezos’ account said that he had “decided to give back to my community”; and Musk’s story said “to feel very good.”
Bezos, Musk and Gates are among the 10worldwide, based on Forbes calculations. According to the Associated Press, the three men have a combined value of $ 362 billion.
Twitter said in a statement that the company had detected what they thought was “a social engineering attack coordinated by people who have successfully targeted some of our employees who have access to internal systems and tools.”
“We are looking for other malicious activity they may have carried out or the information they have been able to access and which they will share more here,” the company tweeted.
Twitter said that once they learned what had happened, they “immediately locked” the hacked accounts and deleted the tweets sent on their behalf. Twitter also limited the functionality of all audited accounts, including those that showed no evidence of compromise, while investigating the problem.
“We have locked accounts that have been compromised and we will not restore access to the original account owner until we are sure we can do so safely,” said Twitter. “Internally, we have taken significant steps to limit access to internal systems and tools while our investigation is underway. Other updates are coming as our investigation progresses.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted several hours later that it was “a tough day for us on Twitter.”
“We all feel terrible,” added Dorsey. “We will diagnose and share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of what happened. “
A spokesperson for Bill Gates confirmed that a tweet sent from his account had not been sent by Gates himself. “This seems to be part of a larger problem facing Twitter,” said the spokesperson.
Joe Biden’s campaign released a similar statement, saying, “Twitter locked the account immediately after the violation and deleted the corresponding tweet. ”
Companies, including Apple and Uber, have also reportedly been hacked. As a result of the incident, all of Apple’s tweets appeared to have been deleted.
There have been at least 363 transactions since the tweets were posted, according to blockchain.com. To date, the account has received over $ 118,000.
Shortly after the incident, many verified users said they could no longer tweet, including media companies.
Several National Weather Service accounts have been affected by adverse weather conditions. According to The Weather Channel, they affected the accounts of the Illinois and Missouri regions while tornado warnings were issued.
Verified accounts that attempted to tweet received an error message that said, “To protect our users from spam and other malicious activity, we cannot complete this action at this time. ”
Twitter has acknowledged that certain features of some users may have been disabled during its investigation: “You may not be able to tweet or reset your password while we investigate and resolve this incident. ”
About three hours later, Twitter support said that “most accounts should allow us to tweet again.”
“As we continue to work on a fix, this feature can come and go,” they tweeted. “We are working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. ”
Unverified Twitter users have used the massive hack to draw attention to the social media site.
Many users made fun of the situation, focusing on how verified accounts, or “blue checks”, were forced to retweet other accounts in order to publish anything on their profiles.
The hack also prompted Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri to write a letter to Dorsey on Wednesday, saying that some of the accounts involved “would have been protected by two-factor authentication from Twitter.”
“I am concerned that this event is not just a coordinated set of separate hacking incidents, but rather a successful attack on the security of Twitter itself. As you know, millions of your users rely on your service not only to tweet publicly, but also to communicate privately through your direct messaging service, “wrote Hawley. “A successful attack on your system’s servers poses a threat to the privacy and security of all your users’ data. ”
Hawley urged Dorsey to work immediately with the Department of Justice and the FBI on the matter, and urged Dorsey to respond to a list of questions, including whether the attack threatened the security of President Trump’s account.