There has to be more to this story than meets the eye. Spidey senses tingle, but why remains to be seen. Twitter was allegedly “hacked” and the accounts of politicians, celebrities, philanthropists, and tech moguls, among others, were hijacked in an apparent cryptocurrency scam.
This, from a story that reported on the alleged hack soon after it occurred: [emphasis added to quotes]
A Twitter insider was responsible for a wave of high profile account takeovers on Wednesday, according to leaked screenshots obtained by Motherboard and two sources who took over accounts. …
“We used a rep that literally done all the work for us,” one of the sources told Motherboard. The second source added they paid the Twitter insider. …
The accounts were taken over using an internal tool at Twitter, according to the sources, as well as screenshots of the tool obtained by Motherboard. …
In all, four sources close to or inside the underground hacking community provided Motherboard with screenshots of the user tool. …
Twitter has been deleting some screenshots of the panel and has suspended users who have tweeted them, claiming that the tweets violate its rules. …
The panel is a stark example of the issue of insider data access at tech companies. …
The screenshots show details about the target user’s account, such as whether it has been suspended, is permanently suspended, or has protected status. …
The story links to articles reminding readers that in the past other Twitter insiders have abused their access to user accounts, noting that in 2017 one employee deleted President Trump’s account and two former employees were accused by the Dept. of Justice of abusing their access by spying for the Saudi government.
At the link, you’ll see the screenshots referred to in the above quote. Of particular note to some is the image showing the “panel” that gives authorized employees access to user accounts. Presumably this “tool” is used to moderate (approve, boost, censor) chosen user accounts. Buttons on the tool include “Perm Suspended”, “Suspended”, “Bounced”, “Protected”, “Inactive”, “Compromised”, “Trends Blacklist”, “Search Blacklist”, and “ReadOnly.”
Days later comes a story that seems to downplay the seriousness of the crimes:
Hackers involved in the high-profile hijacking of Twitter accounts earlier this week were young pals with no links to state or organized crime, The New York Times reported Friday.
The attack, which Twitter and federal police are investigating, started with a playful message between hackers on the platform Discord, a chat service popular with gamers, according to the Times.
The paper said it had interviewed four people who participated in the hacking, who shared logs and screenshots backing up their accounts of what happened.
“The interviews indicate that the attack was not the work of a single country like Russia or a sophisticated group of hackers,” the Times reported.
“Instead, it was done by a group of young people – one of whom says he lives at home with his mother …
Twitter said it appeared to be a “coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.” …
The young hackers interviewed by the Times said a mysterious user who went by the name “Kirk” initiated the scheme with a message and was the one with access to Twitter accounts. …
The young hackers maintained they stopped serving as middlemen for “Kirk” when high-profile accounts became targets. …
Not to worry! The New York Times–which never met a Russian it liked and which loves to blame “the Russians” for everything–assures us that Twitter was not hacked by Russians. It was just a bunch of mom’s-basement-dwelling knuckleheads. Hmmm.
Twitter, however, is the greater loser, in that the company may have lost $1 billion “from its market cap” after the recent alleged hack (more likely an inside job).
While lost bitcoin may not amount to much (according to some), one would think that those who lost a billion dollars in “market cap” would sit up and take notice, demanding that the “playful” young “gamers, the “pals” who pulled off the hack, would be found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
So why does it seem as if the victims are remarkably silent about the damage done? Why does the New York Times story appear to downplay the seriousness of the crimes? Don’t Twitter’s stockholders take this loss seriously?
Both quoted stories seem to point to the same “four” people and both mention screenshots that prove that the “pals” did indeed get into the Twitter system tool. Twitter diligently removed the screenshots from anywhere they appeared on their site. Why?
Are the screenshots of the Twitter tool–the panel full of interesting buttons–why the story now seems to be getting downplayed? Is some kind of damage control in play?
Some suspect the screenshots of the Twitter tool are evidence that Twitter hasn’t been upfront with users or Congress or the DOJ with regard to how they moderate and/or censor user accounts. Supposedly, there’s no shadow banning going on. Supposedly, there’s no messing with trending stories to push them down, reduce their visibility. Supposedly, there are no “blacklists.” Why then, are there buttons on the tool that seem to indicate otherwise? Why do the screenshots appear to contradict the sworn testimony of Twitter officials? Hmm.
It sure doesn’t lend credibility to Twitter to learn that they’ve been hacked again. The situation is remarkably reminiscent of the so-called hacking of the DNC back in 2016.
The Twitter hack, so-called by the media, appears to be a case of an insider selling his password and access to Twitter’s systems. Similarly, the DNC “hack” may also have been an insider breach, not an actual hack by Russian bad actors, as was hyped by the media and the Democrats, who similarly were in damage control mode.
Who is Kirk? Was this only a test run?
Many in the media seem concerned about the potential for a “hack” of social media sites during the closing days or hours of the 2020 election. Hmm. Are they concerned, or are they laying the groundwork for something, sending up the trial balloon, “explaining” in advance?
Remember the infamous passport breach before the 2008 election, where the target was actually Barack Obama’s passport file but Hillary Clinton’s and John McCain’s files were also breached to provide cover? This serious breach of confidential State Dept. records was brushed off by the media, downplayed as merely an instance of overly curious but essentially harmless contract employees browsing through the records of famous people. However, the goal of the breach, according to some media reports, was to whitewash information from Obama’s passport records so that it couldn’t be used to question his constitutional eligibility or his suitability for the presidency.
Did the Twitter hack serve to steal information from or about someone who wasn’t openly named as a victim (for example, President Trump or members of his family) while the bitcoin gambit served as the cover story?
Could hackers steal information to make it appear as if someone else besides themselves was behind the hack? In other words, could it be a political dirty trick designed to dirty up a political opponent? Why, for example, are all the named victims mostly liberal/progressive people?
While someone’s trolling around in everybody’s Twitter accounts, just a member of a merry bunch of basement-dwelling, harmless “pals,” what might a person find that could be very useful indeed between now and November and which could easily be sold to the highest bidder?
Not to worry, though, brothers and sisters. The FBI is on the case. Yeah, you know, those same people who ran the “counterintelligence investigation” into now-President Donald Trump before, during, and after his election.
Trust no one. Dirty tricks abound. False flags proliferate.
They’re testing the waters. Putting out feelers. Spreading disinformation. So it begins.
Nothing is ever as it seems, especially in an election year.