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Twitter Denies Hacking Claims, Assures Leaked User Data Not from its System

Twitter Denies Hacking Claims, Assures Leaked User Data Not from its System
Jan 12, 2023 Data Security / Privacy
Twitter on Wednesday said that its investigation found "no evidence" that users' data sold online was obtained by exploiting any security vulnerabilities in its systems. "Based on information and intel analyzed to investigate the issue, there is no evidence that the data being sold online was obtained by exploiting a vulnerability of Twitter systems," the company  said  in a statement. "The data is likely a collection of data already publicly available online through different sources." The disclosure comes in the wake of  multiple   reports  that Twitter data belonging to millions of users – 5.4 million in November 2022, 400 million in December 2022, and 200 million last week – have been made available for sale on online criminal forums. The social media giant further said the breach "could not be correlated with the previously reported incident, nor with any new incident," adding no passwords were exposed. The two datasets published in

Ex-Twitter employee Gets 3.5 Years Jail for Spying on Behalf of Saudi Arabia

Ex-Twitter employee Gets 3.5 Years Jail for Spying on Behalf of Saudi Arabia
Dec 16, 2022 Cyber Espionage / Privacy
A former Twitter employee who was found guilty of spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia by sharing data pertaining to specific individuals has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison. Ahmad Abouammo, 45, was convicted  earlier this August  on various criminal counts, including money laundering, fraud, falsifying records, and being an illegal agent of a foreign government. Abouammo was arrested on November 5, 2019, after being accused of abusing his access to Twitter's internal systems to gather information about Saudi Arabia's critics on the social media platform. He was employed at Twitter from 2013 to 2015. "Mr. Abouammo violated the trust placed on him to protect the privacy of individuals by giving their personal information to a foreign power for profit,"  said  Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division. "His conduct was made all the more egregious by the fact that the information was i

Elon Musk Confirms Twitter 2.0 will Bring End-to-End Encryption to Direct Messages

Elon Musk Confirms Twitter 2.0 will Bring End-to-End Encryption to Direct Messages
Nov 28, 2022
Twitter chief executive Elon Musk confirmed plans for end-to-end encryption ( E2EE ) for direct messages on the platform. The  feature  is part of Musk's vision for Twitter 2.0, which is expected to be what's called an "everything app." Other functionalities include longform tweets and payments, according to a slide deck shared by Musk over the weekend. The company's plans for encrypted messages first came to light in mid-November 2022, when mobile researcher Jane Manchun Wong  spotted  source code changes in Twitter's Android app referencing conversation keys for E2EE chats. It's worth noting that various other messaging platforms, such as Signal, Threema, WhatsApp, iMessage, Wire, Tox, and Keybase, already support encryption for messages. Google, which previously turned on E2EE for  one-to-one chats  in its RCS-based Messages app for Android, is currently piloting the same option for group chats. Facebook, likewise, began  enabling E2EE  on Messeng

Former Twitter Employee Found Guilty of Spying for Saudi Arabia

Former Twitter Employee Found Guilty of Spying for Saudi Arabia
Aug 10, 2022
A former Twitter employee has been pronounced guilty for his role in digging up private information pertaining to certain Twitter users and turning over that data to Saudi Arabia. Ahmad Abouammo, 44, was convicted by a jury after a two-week trial in San Francisco federal court, Bloomberg  reported  Tuesday. He faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced. The  verdict  comes nearly three years after Abouammo, along with Ali Alzabarah and Ahmed Almutairi (Ahmed Aljbreen) were  indicted in 2019  for acting as "illegal agents" of Saudi Arabia, with the former also charged with destroying, altering, and falsifying records in a federal investigation. Prosecutors accused Abouammo and Alzabarah, both of whom joined Twitter in 2013, of being enlisted by officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for  unmasking its critics  on the social media platform. According to court documents, both individuals leveraged their access to internal systems to unauthorizedly get hold of nonpubli

Hackers Exploit Twitter Vulnerability to Exposes 5.4 Million Accounts

Hackers Exploit Twitter Vulnerability to Exposes 5.4 Million Accounts
Aug 06, 2022
Twitter on Friday revealed that a now-patched zero-day bug was used to link phone numbers and emails to user accounts on the social media platform. "As a result of the vulnerability, if someone submitted an email address or phone number to Twitter's systems, Twitter's systems would tell the person what Twitter account the submitted email addresses or phone number was associated with, if any," the company  said  in an advisory. Twitter said the bug, which it was  made aware  of in January 2022, stemmed from a code change introduced in June 2021. No passwords were exposed as a result of the incident. The six-month delay in making this public stems from new evidence last month that an unidentified actor had potentially taken advantage of the flaw before the fix to scrape user information and sell it for profit on  Breach Forums . Although Twitter didn't reveal the exact number of impacted users, the forum post made by the threat actor shows that the flaw was pr

Researchers Discover Nearly 3,200 Mobile Apps Leaking Twitter API Keys

Researchers Discover Nearly 3,200 Mobile Apps Leaking Twitter API Keys
Aug 01, 2022
Researchers have uncovered a list of 3,207 mobile apps that are exposing Twitter API keys in the clear, some of which can be utilized to gain unauthorized access to Twitter accounts associated with them. The takeover is made possible, thanks to a leak of legitimate Consumer Key and Consumer Secret information, respectively, Singapore-based cybersecurity firm CloudSEK said in a report exclusively shared with The Hacker News. "Out of 3,207, 230 apps are leaking all four authentication credentials and can be used to fully take over their Twitter Accounts and can perform any critical/sensitive actions," the researchers said.  This can range from reading direct messages to carrying out arbitrary actions such as retweeting, liking and deleting tweets, following any account, removing followers, accessing account settings, and even changing the account profile picture. Access to the Twitter API  requires  generating secret keys and access tokens, which act as the usernames and

Twitter's New Owner Elon Musk Wants DMs to be End-to-End Encrypted like Signal

Twitter's New Owner Elon Musk Wants DMs to be End-to-End Encrypted like Signal
Apr 28, 2022
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and Twitter's new owner, on Thursday called on adding support for end-to-end encryption (E2EE) to the platform's direct messages ( DM ) feature. "Twitter DMs should have end to end encryption like Signal, so no one can spy on or hack your messages," Musk  said  in a tweet. The statement comes days after the microblogging service  announced  it officially entered into an agreement to be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Elon Musk, with the transaction valued at approximately US$ 44 billion, or US$ 54.20 per share in cash.  The deal, which is expected to be closed over the next six months, will see it becoming a privately held company. "Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated," Musk said in a statement. "I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making t

Twitter Bans Users From Posting 'Private Media' Without a Person's Consent

Twitter Bans Users From Posting ‘Private Media’ Without a Person's Consent
Dec 01, 2021
Twitter on Tuesday announced an expansion to its private information policy to include private media, effectively prohibiting the sharing of photos and videos without express permission from the individuals depicted in them with an aim to curb doxxing and harassment. "Beginning today, we will not allow the sharing of private media, such as images or videos of private individuals without their consent. Publishing people's private info is also prohibited under the policy, as is threatening or incentivizing others to do so," the company's Safety team  said  in a tweet. To that end, the policy also  discourages  users from sharing information such as sign-in credentials that would enable malicious actors to gain access to a person's sensitive information without their authorization. It also forbids users from seeking financial compensation in exchange for posting (or not posting) another individual's private information as part of blackmail schemes. As part o

India's Koo, a Twitter-like Service, Found Vulnerable to Critical Worm Attacks

India's Koo, a Twitter-like Service, Found Vulnerable to Critical Worm Attacks
Aug 06, 2021
Koo, India's homegrown Twitter clone, recently patched a serious security vulnerability that could have been exploited to execute arbitrary JavaScript code against hundreds of thousands of its users, spreading the attack across the platform. The vulnerability involves a  stored cross-site scripting flaw  (also known as persistent XSS) in Koo's web application that allows malicious scripts to be embedded directly into the affected web application. To carry out the attack, all a malicious actor had to do was log into the service via the web application and post an XSS-encoded payload to its timeline, which automatically gets executed on behalf of all users who saw the post. The issue was discovered by security researcher  Rahul Kankrale  in July, following which a fix was rolled out by Koo on July 3. Using cross-site scripting, an attacker can perform actions on behalf of users with the same privileges as the user and steal web browser's secrets, such as authentication

Hackers Exploited Twitter Bug to Find Linked Phone Numbers of Users

Hackers Exploited Twitter Bug to Find Linked Phone Numbers of Users
Feb 04, 2020
Twitter today issued a warning revealing that attackers abused a legitimate functionality on its platform to unauthorizedly determine phone numbers associated with millions of its users' accounts. According to Twitter, the vulnerability resided in one of the APIs that has been designed to make it easier for users to find people they may already know on Twitter by matching phone numbers saved in their contacts with twitter accounts. To be noted, the feature worked precisely as intended, except someone was not supposed to upload millions of randomly generated phone numbers and abuse Twitter to reveal profiles associated with the contact information users added to Twitter for enabling security features. Though the company is not sure if the bug was exploited by only a single adversary or multiple groups, it has identified several accounts engaged in the attack located in a wide range of countries, primarily from Iran, Israel, and Malaysia. Based on their IP addresses, Twitt

Malicious Android SDKs Caught Accessing Facebook and Twitter Users Data

Malicious Android SDKs Caught Accessing Facebook and Twitter Users Data
Nov 26, 2019
Two third-party software development kits integrated by over hundreds of thousands of Android apps have been caught holding unauthorized access to users' data associated with their connected social media accounts. In a blog post published yesterday, Twitter revealed that an SDK developed by OneAudience contains a privacy-violating component which may have passed some of its users' personal data to the OneAudience servers. Following Twitter's disclosure, Facebook today released a statement revealing that an SDK from another company, Mobiburn , is also under investigation for a similar malicious activity that might have exposed its users connected with certain Android apps to data collection firms. Both OneAudience and Mobiburn are data monetization services that pay developers to integrate their SDKs into the apps, which then collect users' behavioral data and then use it with advertisers for targeted marketing. In general, third-party software development k

Two Former Twitter Employees Caught Spying On Users For Saudi Arabia

Two Former Twitter Employees Caught Spying On Users For Saudi Arabia
Nov 07, 2019
Two former employees of Twitter have been charged with spying on thousands of Twitter user accounts on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government, likely with the purpose of unmasking the identity of dissidents. According to an indictment filed on November 5 and unsealed just yesterday, one of the charged Twitter employees, American citizen Ahmad Abouammo , left the company in May 2015 and the other, Saudi citizen Ali Alzabarah , left the company in December 2015. Both ex-employees were recruited in 2014 by Saudi government officials with close ties to the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to access sensitive and non-public information of Twitter accounts associated with known Saudi critics. The information Abouammo and Alzabarah illegally accessed about Twitter users include their email addresses, devices used, browser information, user-provided biographical information, birthdates, and other info that can be used to know a user's location, like IP addresses associate

You Gave Your Phone Number to Twitter for Security and Twitter Used it for Ads

You Gave Your Phone Number to Twitter for Security and Twitter Used it for Ads
Oct 09, 2019
After exposing private tweets , plaintext passwords , and personal information for hundreds of thousands of its users, here is a new security blunder social networking company Twitter admitted today. Twitter announced that the phone numbers and email addresses of some users provided for two-factor authentication (2FA) protection had been used for targeted advertising purposes—though the company said it was 'unintentional.' In a blog post, the company said an 'error' in its 'Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising system' inadvertently used the information provided by users for security reasons to run targeted ads based on the advertisers' own marketing lists. "When an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, we may have matched people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for safety and security purposes. This was an error and we apologize," Twitter said in a blog po

Twitter temporarily disables 'Tweeting via SMS' after CEO gets hacked

Twitter temporarily disables 'Tweeting via SMS' after CEO gets hacked
Sep 05, 2019
Twitter today finally decided to temporarily disable a feature, called ' Tweeting via SMS ,' after it was abused by a hacking group to compromise Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last week and sent a series of racist and offensive tweets to Dorsey's followers. Dorsey's Twitter account was compromised last week when a hacker group calling itself "Chuckling Squad" replicated a mobile phone number associated with the CEO account and abused this particular feature to post racist, offensive messages and bomb threats from it via SMS. Replicating a mobile phone number associated with someone else is a technique known as " SIM swapping ," where attackers social engineer a victim's mobile phone provider and trick the telecom company to transfer target's phone number to their own SIM card. Once they social engineered an AT&T employee and gained access to Dorsey's phone number, the Chuckling Squad hackers used the 'Tweeting via SMS' feat

A Twitter Bug Left Android Users' Private Tweets Exposed For 4 Years

A Twitter Bug Left Android Users' Private Tweets Exposed For 4 Years
Jan 18, 2019
Twitter just admitted that the social network accidentally revealed some Android users' protected tweets to the public for more than 4 years — a kind of privacy blunder that you'd typically expect from Facebook . When you sign up for Twitter, all your Tweets are public by default, allowing anyone to view and interact with your Tweets. Fortunately, Twitter also gives you control of your information, allowing you to choose if you want to keep your Tweets protected. Enabling "Protect your Tweets" setting makes your tweets private, and you'll receive a request whenever new people want to follow you, which you can approve or deny. It's just similar to private Facebook updates that limit your information to your friends only. In a post on its Help Center on Thursday, Twitter disclosed a privacy bug dating back to November 3, 2014, potentially caused the Twitter for Android app to disable the "Protect your Tweets" setting for users without their k

Twitter Discloses Suspected State-Sponsored Attack After Minor Data Breach

Twitter Discloses Suspected State-Sponsored Attack After Minor Data Breach
Dec 18, 2018
Twitter has been hit with a minor data breach incident that the social networking site believes linked to a suspected state-sponsored attack. In a blog post published on Monday, Twitter revealed that while investigating a vulnerability affecting one of its support forms, the company discovered evidence of the bug being misused to access and steal users' exposed information. The impacted support form in question was used by account holders to contact Twitter about issues with their account. Discovered in mid-November, the support form API bug exposed considerably less personal information, including the country code of users' phone numbers associated with their Twitter account, and "whether or not their account had been locked." So far the company has declined to provide more details about the incident or an estimate for the number of accounts potentially impacted but says it believes that the attack may have ties to state-sponsored actors. "During our

New Malware Takes Commands From Memes Posted On Twitter

New Malware Takes Commands From Memes Posted On Twitter
Dec 18, 2018
Security researchers have discovered yet another example of how cybercriminals disguise their malware activities as regular traffic by using legitimate cloud-based services. Trend Micro researchers have uncovered a new piece of malware that retrieves commands from memes posted on a Twitter account controlled by the attackers. Most malware relies on communication with their command-and-control server to receive instructions from attackers and perform various tasks on infected computers. Since security tools keep an eye on the network traffic to detect malicious IP addresses, attackers are increasingly using legitimate websites and servers as infrastructure in their attacks to make the malicious software more difficult to detect. In the recently spotted malicious scheme, which according to the researchers is in its early stage, the hackers uses Steganography —a technique of hiding contents within a digital graphic image in such a way that's invisible to an observer—to hid

Google Home and Chromecast DOWN? Reboot them to Fix the Glitch

Google Home and Chromecast DOWN? Reboot them to Fix the Glitch
Jun 28, 2018
If your Google Home, Home Mini and/or Google Chromecast streaming stick were not working properly, you are not alone. Google Home, Home Mini, and Chromecast were down globally for many users for several hours, leaving a lot of people with trouble watching TV, controlling smart home gadgets, and listening to music. Yesterday, hundreds of Chromecasts and Home users began complaining about their devices not working properly on both the official "Made by Google" Twitter account and Down Detector. Later, Google confirmed that its Home and Chromecast across the world went down due to an unspecified "issue," and that the company was investigating the issue and working on a solution, but did not provide any kind of explanation about the glitch. The issue appears to be affecting devices that work using Google's Home technology, which is a smart ecosystem that allows users to stream content to devices. "Bug confirmed... We use Chromecast in all our conf

Change Your Twitter Password Immediately, Bug Exposes Passwords in Plaintext

Change Your Twitter Password Immediately, Bug Exposes Passwords in Plaintext
May 04, 2018
Twitter is urging all of its 330 million users to change their passwords after a software glitch unintentionally exposed its users' passwords by storing them in readable text on its internal computer system. The social media network disclosed the issue in an official blog post and a series of tweets from Twitter Support. According to Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal, Twitter hashes passwords using a popular function known as bcrypt, which replaces an actual password with a random set of numbers and letters and then stored it in its systems. This allows the company to validate users' credentials without revealing their actual passwords, while also masking them in a way that not even Twitter employees can see them. However, a software bug resulted in passwords being written to an internal log before completing the hashing process—meaning that the passwords were left exposed on the company's internal system. Parag said Twitter had found and resolved the problem itsel

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Share Data with Location-based Social Media Surveillance Startup

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Share Data with Location-based Social Media Surveillance Startup
Oct 12, 2016
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, VK, Google's Picasa and Youtube were handing over user data access to a Chicago-based Startup — the developer of a social media monitoring tool — which then sold this data to law enforcement agencies for surveillance purposes, the ACLU disclosed Tuesday. Government records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) revealed that the big technology corporations gave "special access" to Geofeedia. Geofeedia is a controversial social media monitoring tool that pulls social media feeds via APIs and other means of access and then makes it searchable and accessible to its clients, who can search by location or keyword to quickly find recently posted and publicly available contents. The company has marketed its services to 500 law enforcement and public safety agencies as a tool to track racial protests in Ferguson, Missouri, involving the 2014 police shooting death of Mike Brown. With the help of a public records request, the
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