Twitter disclosed that hackers targeted about 130 accounts during the cyberattack this week.
Hackers had accessed Twitter’s internal systems to hijack some of the platform’s top voices including U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, former U.S. President Barack Obama and billionaire Elon Musk and used them to solicit digital currency.
Twitter said hackers were able to gain control to a small subset of the targeted accounts, and send tweets from them.
The company added that it was continuing to assess whether the attackers were able to access private data of the targeted accounts.
The high-profile accounts that were hacked also included rapper Kanye West, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and corporate accounts for Uber Technologies and Apple.
Twitter reiterated that it was working with impacted account owners.
Twitter had stepped up its search for a chief information security officer in recent weeks, Reuters reported, before the breach of high-profile accounts on Wednesday raised alarms about the platform’s security.
The company, which has been without a security chief since December, said the hackers conducted a “coordinated social engineering attack” against its employees.
Several security experts researching the case said that they believed the hackers were primarily interested in prestige Twitter accounts with one- or two-digit handles, such as @6.
Such accounts were among the first ones hacked Wednesday, even before the bitcoin requests, and control of handles was advertised in one forum for enthusiasts of accounts active since Twitter’s early days.
FBI’s San Francisco division is leading an inquiry into the hacking, with many Washington lawmakers also calling for an accounting of how it happened.
The law enforcement agency said that cyber attackers committed cryptocurrency fraud in the incident. Publicly available blockchain records show the apparent scammers received more than $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency.
“We’re still in the process of assessing longer-term steps that we may take and will share more details as soon as we can,” Twitter added in its statement.
Twitter in February 2020 said that an official Twitter account of the Olympics and the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) media Twitter account had been hacked and temporarily locked. The accounts were hacked through a third-party platform.