#1 Trusted Cybersecurity News Platform Followed by 4.50+ million
The Hacker News Logo
Get the Free Newsletter
SaaS Security

Twitter | Breaking Cybersecurity News | The Hacker News

X (Twitter) to Collect Biometric Data from Premium Users to Combat Impersonation

X (Twitter) to Collect Biometric Data from Premium Users to Combat Impersonation

Sep 04, 2023 Privacy / Biometrics
X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, has updated its privacy policy to collect users' biometric data to tackle fraud and impersonation on the platform. "Based on your consent, we may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes," the company  said . The revised policy is expected to go into effect on September 29, 2023. The social media behemoth told Bloomberg, which  first reported  the development, that the change is limited to premium users and that a biometric matching process "will also help X fight impersonation attempts and make the platform more secure." To that end, users will be given the option to provide government ID and a picture for identity matching or verification using biometric data, the company told the publication. However, there is currently no clarity on how it plans to collect it and for how long such information will be retained in its systems. The policy update is also expected to include a c
Instagram's Twitter Alternative 'Threads' Launch Halted in Europe Over Privacy Concerns

Instagram's Twitter Alternative 'Threads' Launch Halted in Europe Over Privacy Concerns

Jul 05, 2023 Privacy / Social Media
Instagram Threads, the upcoming Twitter competitor from Meta, will not be launched in the European Union due to privacy concerns, according to Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC). The development was  reported  by the Irish Independent, which said the watchdog has been in contact with the social media giant about the new product and confirmed the release won't extend to the E.U. "at this point." Threads  is Meta's answer to Twitter that's set for launch on July 6, 2023. It's billed as a "text-based conversation app" that allows Instagram users to "discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what'll be trending tomorrow." It also enables users to follow the same accounts they already follow on Instagram. A listing for the app has already appeared in the  Apple App Store  and  Google Play Store , although it's yet to be available for download. The " App Privacy " section on the App Store indic
Cybersecurity Tactics FinServ Institutions Can Bank On in 2024

Cybersecurity Tactics FinServ Institutions Can Bank On in 2024

Feb 14, 2024Financial Security / Cyber Threats
The landscape of cybersecurity in financial services is undergoing a rapid transformation. Cybercriminals are exploiting advanced technologies and methodologies, making traditional security measures obsolete. The challenges are compounded for community banks that must safeguard sensitive financial data against the same level of sophisticated threats as larger institutions, but often with more limited resources. The FinServ Threat Landscape Recent trends show an alarming increase in sophisticated cyber-attacks. Cybercriminals now deploy advanced techniques like deep fake technology and AI-powered attacks, making it increasingly difficult for banks to differentiate between legitimate and malicious activities. These developments necessitate a shift towards more sophisticated and adaptive cybersecurity measures. Take these industry statistics, for example. Financial firms report 703 cyberattack attempts per week.1 On average, 270 attacks (entailing unauthorized access of data, appl
Twitter Hacker Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for $120,000 Crypto Scam

Twitter Hacker Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for $120,000 Crypto Scam

Jun 24, 2023 Cyber Crime / Cryptocurrency
A U.K. citizen who took part in the massive July 2020 hack of Twitter has been sentenced to five years in prison in the U.S. Joseph James O'Connor (aka PlugwalkJoe), 24, was awarded the sentence on Friday in the Southern District of New York, a little over a month  after  he  pleaded guilty  to the criminal schemes. He was  arrested  in Spain in July 2021. The infamous Twitter breach allowed the defendant and his co-conspirators to obtain unauthorized access to backend tools used by Twitter, abusing them to hijack 130 popular accounts to perpetrate a crypto scam that netted them about $120,000 in illegal profits. "In other instances, the co-conspirators sold access to Twitter accounts to others," the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ)  said . "O'Connor communicated with others regarding purchasing unauthorized access to a variety of Twitter accounts, including accounts associated with public figures around the world." The defendant has also been accused o
cyber security

The Critical State of AI in the Cloud

websiteWiz.ioArtificial Intelligence / Cloud Security
Wiz Research reveals the explosive growth of AI adoption and what 150,000+ cloud accounts revealed about the AI surge.
Twitter Finally Rolling Out Encrypted Direct Messages — Starting with Verified Users

Twitter Finally Rolling Out Encrypted Direct Messages — Starting with Verified Users

May 11, 2023 Encryption / Privacy
Twitter is officially beginning to roll out support for  encrypted direct messages (DMs)  on the platform, more than five months after its chief executive Elon Musk  confirmed  plans for the feature in November 2022. The "Phase 1" of the initiative will appear as separate conversations alongside existing direct messages on users' inboxes. Encrypted chats carry a lock icon badge to visually differentiate them. That said, the opt-in feature is currently limited to verified users or affiliates to a verified organization. It's also essential both the sender and recipient are on the latest versions of the Twitter apps across Android, iOS, and desktop web. Another criteria to send and receive encrypted messages is that the recipient must follow the sender, has sent a message to the sender in the past, or has accepted a direct message request from the sender at some point. While Twitter did not disclose the exact method it uses to secure the conversations, the company s
Mastermind Behind Twitter 2020 Hack Pleads Guilty and Faces up to 70 Years in Prison

Mastermind Behind Twitter 2020 Hack Pleads Guilty and Faces up to 70 Years in Prison

May 10, 2023 Cyber Crime / Social Media
A U.K. national has pleaded guilty in the U.S. in connection with the July 2020 Twitter attack affecting numerous high-profile accounts and defrauding other users of the platform. Joseph James O'Connor, who also went by the online alias PlugwalkJoe , admitted to "his role in cyberstalking and multiple schemes that involve computer hacking, including the July 2020 hack of Twitter," the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) said. The 23-year-old individual was extradited from Spain on April 26 after the Spanish National Court, in February,  approved  the DoJ request to hand over O'Connor to face 14 criminal charges in the U.S. The  massive hack , which took place on July 15, 2020, involved O'Connor and his co-conspirators seizing control of 130 Twitter accounts, including those belonging to Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk, to perpetrate a cryptocurrency scam that netted them $120,000 in a few hours. The attack was made possible by using social engineering te
Twitter Limits SMS-Based 2-Factor Authentication to Blue Subscribers Only

Twitter Limits SMS-Based 2-Factor Authentication to Blue Subscribers Only

Feb 18, 2023 Authentication / Online Security
Twitter has announced that it's limiting the use of SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA) to its Blue subscribers. "While historically a popular form of 2FA, unfortunately we have seen phone-number based 2FA be used – and abused – by bad actors," the company  said . "We will no longer allow accounts to enroll in the text message/SMS method of 2FA unless they are Twitter Blue subscribers." Twitter users who have not subscribed to Blue that have enrolled for SMS-based 2FA have time till March 20, 2023, to switch to an alternative method such as an authenticator app or a hardware security key. After this cutoff date, non-Twitter Blue subscribers will have their option disabled. The alternative methods "require you to have physical possession of the authentication method and are a great way to ensure your account is secure," Twitter noted. Given that SMS has been the  least secure form of 2FA , the latest enforcement is likely to force people
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
Cybersecurity Resources