Twitter’s Security Fell Short Before Hack Targeting Celebrities, Regulator Says | Technology News

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Twitter Inc suffered from cybersecurity shortfalls that enabled a “simple” hack attributed to a Florida teenager to take over the accounts of several of the world’s most famous people in July, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The report by New York’s Department of Financial Services also recommended that the largest social media companies be deemed systemically important, like some banks following the 2008 financial crisis, with a dedicated regulator monitoring their ability to combat cyberattacks and election interference.

“That Twitter was vulnerable to an unsophisticated attack shows that self-regulation is not the answer,” said Linda Lacewell, the financial services superintendent.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It has acknowledged that some employees were duped into sharing account credentials prior to the hack.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a probe following the July 15 hack of celebrity Twitter accounts, in an alleged scam that stole more than $118,000 in Bitcoin.

Those whose accounts were hacked included U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden; former President Barack Obama; billionaires Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Elon Musk; singer Kanye West, and his wife Kim Kardashian, the reality TV star.

Lacewell said hackers obtained log-in credentials after calling several employees, pretending to work in Twitter’s information technology department, and claiming to be responding to problems with the company’s Virtual Private Network, which had become common because employees were working from home.

“The extraordinary access the hackers obtained with this simple technique underscores Twitter’s cybersecurity vulnerability and the potential for devastating consequences,” the report said.

Twitter’s lack at the time of a chief information security officer also made the San Francisco-based company more vulnerable, the report said.

Florida prosecutors said Graham Ivan Clark was the mastermind behind the hack, and charged the 17-year-old Tampa resident as

Twitter’s ‘Birdwatch’ looks like a new attempt to root out propaganda and misinformation

Twitter has confirmed it’s working on a new feature, currently dubbed “Birdwatch,” that could let the Twitter community warn one another about misleading tweets that could cause harm.

There’s an awful lot we don’t know about the idea, including whether Twitter will actually release it to the public or how it might work in its final form, but enough has leaked out that we do have a pretty fair glimpse at the feature — which, we understand, is still early in development and would not be released ahead of the US election.

As TechCrunch notes, the existence of such a tool was first discovered by Jane Manchun Wong, who often digs through app code for evidence of unreleased features, back in August. At a basic level, the idea is that you’ll be able to attach a note to a misleading tweet:

And as of late September, social media consultant Matt Navarra spotted a dedicated “Add to Birdwatch” button below a piece of content he’d tweeted:

As of October 3rd, Birdwatch even appears to have its own miniature survey to fill out as you’re reporting a piece of content, with options to take either side (misleading/not misleading) in the debate about a particular piece of information, as well as drilling down to how much harm

Twitter’s voice tweets are rolling out to more iOS users, and transcriptions are on the way

Twitter has just expanded its voice tweets feature, which lets you record a snippet of audio to include with a tweet, to more users on iOS. But perhaps more significantly, Twitter is now saying it plans to add transcriptions to voice tweets to improve accessibility, which could help address criticisms from the feature’s June 17th launch.

If you want to get an idea of how voice tweets work right now, just press play on the below tweet to hear a voice clip from my colleague Tom Warren. There’s currently no way to see captions or a transcription of what he’s saying. (Note: Tom is not actually sharing exclusive next-gen console news.)

Without any way to see a transcription, voice tweets were quickly criticized for not being accessible. Then it came to light that there wasn’t a dedicated team at Twitter for accessibility — instead, the company asked employees to volunteer their time on top of their usual work to focus on accessibility. That all meant that one day after voice tweets were announced, the company told The Verge it was exploring how to make a “more dedicated group” focused on accessibility.

Twitter has since announced two new teams dedicated to accessibility, on September 2nd: one promoting accessibility within Twitter’s products, and one focusing on accessibility for Twitter as a business. And as part of that announcement, Twitter said it’s planning to add automated captions to audio and video on the platform by “early 2021.”

It’s unclear when transcriptions might be available in voice tweets. Twitter didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment. And if you want to try voice tweets on other platforms, you might have to wait awhile — the company said on its Twitter Support account that voice tweets would be coming to Android and the