The fallout from the great Twitter hack of 2020 continues. While we knew that large accounts, including Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos, tweeted out a Bitcoin scam, the hack looked limited in scope. Now Twitter is admitting the hackers targetted 130 accounts. And to add salt to the wound, Google removed the Twitter carousel from search results.
In case you missed it, Twitter suffered a serious breach a few days ago. Hackers managed to compromise employee accounts through some form of social engineering. From there, they used Twitter’s internal tools to access high profile accounts, ranging from Barack Obama to Apple, sometimes turning off two-factor authentication.
Once the hackers had access, they tweeted out bitcoin scams, promising to double the money to anyone who sent a particular address bitcoin. Twitter eventually managed to take back control and locked down all verified accounts in the process.
Based on what we know right now, we believe approximately 130 accounts were targeted by the attackers in some way as part of the incident. For a small subset of these accounts, the attackers were able to gain control of the accounts and then send Tweets from those accounts.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 17, 2020
The company tweeted more details about the hack’s scope, and it seems the hackers targeted a total of 130 accounts, but only gained access to a small number of them. It’s not clear why they were able to access some accounts and not others.
While 130 accounts isn’t a huge number (especially compared to the hundreds of millions of users Twitter boasts), the limited scope makes sense. The scam worked best if the tweet came from someone with both many followers and the potential money to be generous. That five follower account you started as a joke won’t cut it.
The fallout continues for Twitter. Google used to show a carousel of tweets in its results if you searched for the right terms. It was a useful feature that drove traffic to Twitter. But in response to the hack, Google disabled Twitter results and no longer shows the carousel.
In a statement to Search Engine Roundtable, the search giant explained:
We can confirm we have temporarily removed the Twitter carousel from Search following Twitter’s security issues. Before restoring the feature we will carry out a careful review.
Right now, for Twitter, when it rains, it pours.