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Top House Republican Says Massive Twitter Hack Had Potential To Jeopardize National Security

July 17, 2020
In The News

The coordinated hacking of high-profile Twitter accounts on Wednesday had the potential to endanger national security, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member Rep. James Comer told Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a letter Thursday.

The Twitter accounts for some of the platform’s most prominent users — including former President Barack Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — were compromised Wednesday afternoon by apparent bitcoin scammers.

Twitter said in a statement that the breaches were the result of a “coordinated social engineering attack” against Twitter employees that have access to internal administration tools.

The bitcoin address linked in the tweets posted to the compromised accounts during the attack racked up at least $115,000, according to NBC News, citing a public register of bitcoin transactions.

Comer, a Kentucky Republican, said in his letter to Dorsey that Twitter’s failure to secure its site from such an attack “not only created an opportunity for criminals to perpetrate a crime broadcasted to millions of Twitter’s users, but the hackers’ potential breach of Twitter’s security poses broader risks regarding hackers’ access to private direct messages.”

Comer also alluded to President Donald Trump’s penchant to govern via Tweet, suggesting that Wednesday’s breach could have impacted national security had the hackers chose to post something other than bitcoin scams to the Twitter accounts of their prominent victims. (RELATED: Hackers Compromise Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s Twitter Accounts, Promote Bitcoin Scam)

“Indeed, the President, with 83.5 million followers, is a frequent user of Twitter, which allows him to break through the filter of traditional media and speak directly to all Americans and the world,” Comer wrote. “Breaches similar to yesterday’s have the potential to jeopardize national and economic security and disrupt the lives of millions of Americans.”

Twitter acknowledged in a statement Wednesday that its internal systems and tools were used to “take control of many high-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf.”
Comer asked Dorsey to provide a briefing to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform by July 24 that addresses how many Twitter employees were targeted during the attack, whether a foreign adversary was involved in the attack, the total number of accounts impacted by the breach and the steps Twitter will take to ensure a similar breach never occurs again.