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NYT: ‘Hackers Tell the Story of the Twitter Attack From the Inside’

Extraordinary reporting by Nathaniel Popper and Kate Conger for The New York Times:

But four people who participated in the scheme spoke with The Times and shared numerous logs and screen shots of the conversations they had on Tuesday and Wednesday, demonstrating their involvement both before and after the hack became public.

The interviews indicate that the attack was not the work of a single country like Russia or a sophisticated group of hackers. Instead, it was done by a group of young people — one of whom says he lives at home with his mother — who got to know one another because of their obsession with owning early or unusual screen names, particularly one letter or number, like @y or @6. […]

The hacker “lol” and another one he worked with, who went by the screen name “ever so anxious,” told The Times that they wanted to talk about their work with Kirk in order to prove that they had only facilitated the purchases and takeovers of lesser-known Twitter addresses early in the day. They said they had not continued to work with Kirk once he began more high-profile attacks around 3:30 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday.

In one of the first transactions, “lol” brokered a deal for someone who was willing to pay $1,500, in Bitcoin, for the Twitter user name @y. The money went to the same Bitcoin wallet that Kirk used later in the day when he got payments from hacking the Twitter accounts of celebrities, the public ledger of Bitcoin transactions shows.

Friday, 17 July 2020