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Jul 18, 2020

Govt Issues Notice to Twitter After Recent Hacking Targeting Global High-Profile Users

The government has also demanded information on vulnerability exploited by attackers and sought details of remedial measures taken by Twitter.
A Twitter app loads on an iPhone in this representative image. Photo: Reuters

New Delhi: India’s cybersecurity nodal agency CERT-In has issued a notice to Twitter asking the micro-blogging platform for full details of a recent global hacking incident targeting high-profile users, as it sought information on the number of Indian users affected, as well as impact on data, a source said.

The source privy to the development told PTI that CERT-In has also asked Twitter for information on number of users from India who have visited the malicious tweets and links, and whether the affected users have been informed by the platform about unauthorised access to their Twitter accounts.

Twitter did not comment on an email query by PTI.

The government has also demanded information on vulnerability exploited by attackers and modus operandi of the attack, and sought details of remedial measures taken by Twitter to mitigate the impact of the hacking incident.

CERT-In has asked Twitter to respond to multiple queries, including details about the incident, and number of Indian users affected along with impact on data of those users, the source said.

Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) swung into action after reports that hackers gained access to Twitter’s systems to hack accounts of many global corporate leaders, politicians, celebrities, and businesses.

Also read: Joe Biden, Elon Musk’s Twitter Accounts Among Those Hacked, Site Bans Activities for Hours

The source said that move by CERT-In was aimed at protecting the interests of Indian users.

Questions were asked by CERT-In from Twitter under stipulated sections of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and CERT-In Rules 2003, the source pointed out.

Cyber attackers had hacked into the Twitter accounts of global high profile users – including former President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden as well as a many corporate leaders including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk – on Wednesday, in a purported Bitcoin scam.

The bogus tweets had offered USD 2,000 for every USD 1,000 sent to a Bitcoin account. According to some figures, scammers received hundreds of transfers with over USD 100,000 worth of cryptocurrency, in what is being described as an unprecedented security breach.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on July 16 had tweeted that everyone at Twitter feels ‘terrible’ about the incident. He had also sought to assure users that the company would share everything it can once it has complete understanding of exactly what happened.


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