Wilders' direct messages accessed in major Twitter hack
During a major hack into Twitter's systems last week, the perpetrators had access to the direct messages of 36 account, "including 1 elected official in the Netherlands", Twitter Support said on Thursday. As far as is known, PVV leader Geert Wilders was the only Dutch politician to be hacked.
Direct messages can be sent between Twitter users. They are not visible to others. According to Twitter, the hackers targeted a total of 130 accounts and posted tweets on 45 accounts. With 36 accounts they accessed the DM inbox, and with 8 accounts they downloaded the 'Your Twitter Data' archive.
In the hack, Wilders' profile picture was replaced by a caricature of a black man and his account was used to retweet conspiracy theories. This raised doubts about whether his account was hacked by the same perpetrators that hacked the other accounts. The other accounts were of high-profile Americans including presidential candidate Joe Biden, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. From these accounts the hackers tweeted requests for Bitcoin.
Broadcaster NOS spoke to a Dutch hacker who says they were the one to break into Wilders' account. According to the hacker, they did so with the help of an American.
"To date, we have no indication that any other former or current elected official had their DMs accessed," Twitter said, seemingly indicating that Biden's private messages are safe.
We believe that for up to 36 of the 130 targeted accounts, the attackers accessed the DM inbox, including 1 elected official in the Netherlands. To date, we have no indication that any other former or current elected official had their DMs accessed.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 22, 2020