On August 24, the Twitter accounts of several major YouTubers were hacked by what appeared to be a single group, which posted racist, homophobic, and other offensive messages to their profiles - and Twitter has finally responded to the incidents.
While no cause of the attack was directly stated on the outset, Twitter confirmed that the hacking of its co-founder, Jack Dorsey, was due to a “security oversight” by his mobile provider, after his own account was compromised a week later by the same hackers.
Now, the site is making another massive statement - and a huge change to its operations until the “oversight” has been remedied.
The phone number associated with the account was compromised due to a security oversight by the mobile provider. This allowed an unauthorized person to compose and send tweets via text message from the phone number. That issue is now resolved.
— Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) August 31, 2019
Twitter posted a thread regarding the hacks on September 4, announcing that they will temporarily disable Tweeting by SMS until action is taken by mobile providers in regards to security.
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“We’re taking this step because of vulnerabilities that need to be addressed by mobile carriers and our reliance on having a linked phone number for two-factor authentication,” the site wrote.
We’re taking this step because of vulnerabilities that need to be addressed by mobile carriers and our reliance on having a linked phone number for two-factor authentication (we’re working on improving this).
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 4, 2019
Twitter has since restored this feature in “a few locations” as of September 5, but Tweeting via text message remains disabled for the rest of the globe at the time of writing.
Although no official cause of the hacks was known at the time, former Vine star King Bach accused an AT&T employee of switching his SIM card - a possibility that Twitter appeared to confirm in their own post on August 30.
— King Bach (@KingBach) August 24, 2019
“...This allowed an unauthorized person to compose and send tweets via text message from the phone number,” the site wrote of Dorsey’s hacking. “That issue is now resolved.”
It wasn’t just Dorsey and Bach who were affected by the high-profile hacks, either: YouTube stars Shane Dawson, James Charles, and even deceased YouTuber Desmond “Etika” Amofah were likewise victims of the virtual attacks, which incited fan outrage across the platform.
The person who hacked Etika's account is deleting the tweets I think. Here they are just in case they did. pic.twitter.com/oM7NvLMcdq
— FusionAnimations (@BFDIA_Master) August 24, 2019
While Etika’s Twitter account was suspended in light of the hack, it has since been restored - as have the accounts of other affected YouTubers as Twitter continues to remedy the severe security issue.