Twitters hack and why Decentralization is important

Bob Coiney

July 17, 2020

Twitter accounts of leading businesses and high-profile individuals were compromised this week. In one of the most complex breaches on the platform, there are opinions pointing out to the vulnerability of the system to let this mishap happen. The scam has already swindled about $120,000 which could have been far worse given the scale of the scam.

Twitter, in a statement, said that the attack took place because an unknown person either tricked or forced an employee to provide access to Internal Twitter admin tools. The first notable signs of unauthorized intrusion came around 3 PM EST when Binance tweeted a message about its partnership with “CryptoForHealth” with a link asking people to give back 5000 bitcoin to the community. A few minutes after that tweets on the same line were fired from Joe Biden, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, President Barack Obama, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and investment mogul Warren Buffet

Twitter detected a coordinated social engineering attack by people who first targeted Twitter employees and accessed internal systems. They captured the access to take control of prolific accounts and tweeted on their behalf. Twitter is further investigating any other malicious activity or information the hackers might have got their hands on. Mid-level employees having access to site-wide admin tools increases the possibility of tools falling in the wrong hands indicating vulnerability in Twitter’s systems.

This has exposed some serious concern about Twitter’s centralized system unifying users under a platform that is not transparent. The scam in itself was common but the fact that hackers were able to use important official accounts is a bit bizarre and has made gullible people more likely to fall victim. Bitcoin is not to be really blamed for the attack but the few people against Bitcoin have already started to blame the Cryptocurrency. Mainstream media have expressed their concern about Bitcoin and its history of exposure to fraudsters. The Crypto industry has asked one simple question – Why ask for Bitcoin? 

Bitcoin has once again proved to be the currency of value and cannot be blamed in the hack.

One part of Bitcoin worth lauding is that it is not controlled by any central authority. Users do not have to trust any single organization to protect their money. Along with this the stolen funds are not being retraced back, something which could not have been done through physical cash.

Do note when exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini were hacked, its decentralized exchange system triggered them to put the hacker’s digital wallet addresses on a blocklist when they became aware of the scam. Industry players point out a fundamental issue with Twitter and other such centralized systems. This makes an argument for decentralized systems like Bitcoin because blockchain systems are intrinsically secure. Its decentralized nature as well as the cryptographic algorithm makes it immune to attack.

How this happened is unknown but with a centralized system with a point of contact exists, hackers can easily access the contact and try to penetrate into the system which is why Twitter appears so easily breakable.

There are a few notable decentralized social media platforms, however nothing comes close to competing with the likes of Twitter.

Lets hope Twitter takes into consideration a more decentralized approach in the next upgrade. Over to you Jack and team!

Image Source – KAP Digital