Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Thursday tried to quell security concerns about the social network after hackers hijacked the accounts of high-profile politicians, celebrities and businesses to peddle a cryptocurrency scam.
“We moved quickly to address what happened, and have taken additional steps to improve resiliency against targeted social engineering attempts, implemented numerous safeguards to improve the security of our internal systems, and are working with law enforcement,” Dorsey said in a statement. “We understand our responsibilities and are committed to earning the trust of all of our stakeholders with our every action, including how we address this security issue.”
Dorsey’s remarks, made as the company unveiled its second-quarter earnings, come roughly a week after the massive hack. Former President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Microsoft founder Bill Gates were some of the prominent Twitter users whose accounts were taken over by hackers. Celebrities including Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa and Kim Kardashian West were also targeted in the attack.
Hackers “successfully manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials” to access internal systems and bypass security protections on the accounts, such as two-factor authentication, Twitter said. Hackers targeted 130 accounts but they were only able to log into 45 accounts after resetting passwords. The hackers downloaded data that may have included direct messages from up to eight accounts. None of those accounts were verified meaning they weren’t owned by prominent politicians and celebrities. Other information may have been accessed on hijacked accounts. An investigation is ongoing.
The hack took place after the close of Twitter’s second quarter, which cover the three months ending on June 30. During that period, the company took in $683 million in revenue, below the $707.5 million analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected. Twitter lost 16 cents per share, below the loss of 0 cents per share Wall Street anticipated. Including some expenses, such as stock-based compensation, Twitter lost $1.56 cents per share, well below expectations of a loss of 16 cents per share.
The company reported 186 million daily active users who could see ads, up 34% from the same period last year. Some people view tweets, including ones embedded in news articles, without logging into the site. Twitter had 166 million daily active monetizable users in the first quarter.
Security problems and financial performance aren’t the only issues Twitter faces. During the second quarter, the company started rolling out new labels to combat coronavirus misinformation and voter suppression. The labels, though, have only been used in a few cases so it hasn’t fully curbed the spread of false information.
Unlike its rival Facebook, Twitter has slapped labels on President Donald Trump’s tweets for spreading misinformation about mail-in ballots or glorifying violence against protesters among other reasons.
Still, misinformation and conspiracy theories continue to spread on the platform. Twitter, which relies on automated technology, has also mislabeled accurate tweets about a health-related conspiracy theory concerning 5G and coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the company has been testing new features on the site, including setting that let users choose who can reply to their tweets and giving users the ability to tweet audio of their voice.
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