Twitter confirms 130 accounts were targeted as FBI launches probe on massive hack

Joe Biden, Elon Musk and Kanye West were among the victims of the hack.

July 17, 2020, 10:42 AM

Twitter confirmed that approximately 130 accounts were targeted in the massive hack that has sent the social media company reeling and now has the attention of the Federal Bureau.

On Wednesday, the Twitter accounts of a handful of prominent users including Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Kanye West were apparently compromised by a hacker asking users to send funds to a Bitcoin account.

At the time, the social media company said in a statement that attackers "successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools" and temporarily suspended the ability of all verified Twitter accounts from posting.

In an update Thursday evening, the company revealed more details about the reach of the cyberattacks, saying approximately 130 accounts were targeted and for a "small subset" of those accounts, "the attackers were able to gain control of the accounts and then send Tweets from those accounts."

PHOTO: The Twitter logo appears on an updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Nov. 6 2013.
The Twitter logo appears on an updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Nov. 6 2013. Hackers broke into the Twitter accounts of world leaders, celebrities and tech moguls in one of the most high-profile security breaches in recent years on July 15, 2020, highlighting a major flaw with the service millions of people have come to rely on as an essential communications tool.
Richard Drew/AP, FILE

"We’re working with impacted account owners and will continue to do so over the next several days," the company tweeted from its verified support account. "We are continuing to assess whether non-public data related to these accounts was compromised, and will provide updates if we determine that occurred."

Twitter said it has disabled downloading personal Twitter data for all accounts while the investigation continues.

"We have also been taking aggressive steps to secure our systems while our investigations are ongoing. We’re still in the process of assessing longer-term steps that we may take and will share more details as soon as we can," the company noted.

Meanwhile, the FBI announced Thursday that it is investigating the cyberattack.

"The FBI is investigating the incident involving several Twitter accounts belonging to high profile individuals that occurred on July 15, 2020. At this time, the accounts appear to have been compromised in order to perpetuate cryptocurrency fraud," the agency's San Francisco field office said in a statement. "We advise the public not to fall victim to this scam by sending cryptocurrency or money in relation to this incident. As this investigation is ongoing, we will not be making further comment at this time."

Related Topics

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events