There was little fast proof for who carried out the assault. One of the obvious culprits for an assault of this scale, North Korea, has been documented to have used Bitcoin extensively in the previous. But its nature — “effective, but also amateurish” in the phrases of 1 senior American intelligence official — led American intelligence companies to an preliminary evaluation that this was almost definitely the work of a person hacker, not a state.
Had it been Russia, China, North Korea or Iran, stated the official, who wouldn’t converse on the report as a result of they weren’t licensed to debate an intelligence investigation, the hassle would have in all probability centered on making an attempt to set off inventory market havoc, or maybe the issuance of political pronouncements in the title of Mr. Biden or different targets.
Officials additionally famous that the breach didn’t have an effect on the account of one of the crucial watched and highly effective customers of Twitter: President Trump. Mr. Trump’s account is below a particular type of lock-and-key after previous incidents, the official famous.
Security specialists stated that the wide-ranging assaults hinted that the issue was attributable to a safety flaw in Twitter’s service, not by lax safety measures utilized by the individuals who have been focused. Alex Stamos, director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and the previous chief safety officer at Facebook, stated there have been a spread of different theories, however all advised that the attackers acquired inside Twitter’s system, quite than stealing the passwords of particular person customers.
One American official referred to as “scary possibility” in a world the place nationwide leaders, typically imitating Mr. Trump’s methods, have adopted Twitter as a major supply of unfiltered communications.
“It could have been much worse. We got lucky that this is what they decided to do with their power,” Mr. Stamos stated.
The hacker or hackers made some rookie errors. Mr. Stamos stated that as a result of the attackers had despatched similar messages from the compromised accounts, they have been straightforward to detect and delete. The resolution to ask for cash by way of Bitcoin, he added, confirmed that the attackers have been almost definitely unable or unwilling to launder cash or use their entry for a extra refined rip-off.