Posted on January 6, 2023 at 6:42 PM
Social media platform Twitter could have suffered from a data breach. An online hacker forum has exposed the details of around 235 million users. The data breach could be one of the largest data leaks that could have ever been reported to date.
Twitter suffers a data breach
The online hacker forum shared the personal details of millions of Twitter users. The exposed data includes the users’ names, email addresses, screen names, the number of followers, and the date when they created their accounts. According to a report by Israel-based firm Hudson Rock, part of the exposed data includes the phone numbers of some users.
The exposure of the user details could end up being one of the largest breaches ever. The exposed details will result in other exploits, such as doxxing and targeted phishing campaigns. Hudson Rock published a tweet warning that the breach could be on the way. Doxxing is a type of hack that results in the actual information of an individual or an organization being exposed online.
According to CyberNews, the first publication to reveal the news of this exploit, the size of the stolen database was around 63GB. The company further said that the breach was caused by the hacking group that had posted the advertisement for the Twitter user details on the hacking forum. The details were released in early December, with the asking prices for other threat actors that wanted the details going to up to $200,000.
The report by Hudson Rock did not reveal the name of the online hacking forum that shared the stolen information. However, other reports have said that the forum used to publish the ad for the user details is a platform known as Breached. This site has a reputation for regularly posting and selling stolen user information.
The Hudson Rock report noted that this breach was “one of the most significant leaks ever.” No details are confirming whether user passwords were leaked or not. Moreover, there is also a possibility that part of the stolen information was shared privately.
Hudson Rock posted the details of this breach on Twitter. One of the replies to the tweet was by a user who asked Twitter’s owner Elon Musk whether the exploit was real. Musk has yet to respond to the query.
Data breaches at Twitter
The data breach adds to the list of exploits that Twitter has seen in the past year. It is also the second breach that Twitter has faced in less than one month. If Twitter confirms the exploit, it will become one of the top 15 largest data breaches that have ever been reported. Twitter suffered the greatest data breach in 2018. The breach was caused by a password bug that revealed the details of around 330 million users.
In August last year, Twitter said it suffered from a data breach that revealed the details of around 5.4 million users on the platform. The company said that the breach had happened in July and was caused by vulnerability in the company’s software.
The exploit allowed the hacker to use a phone number or an email address on the log-in page to check whether the information was linked to an existing Twitter account and to which specific account the details were linked.
The recent breach adds to the list of troubles that the social media platform has faced since Musk acquired the company last year. Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion in 2022, and since then, the San Francisco-based company has been in turmoil.
Musk’s tenure at Twitter as the new owner of the firm has not been short of controversies. Musk has fired several top executives at the social media company and has even laid off nearly 50% of its workforce.
Nevertheless, breaches are popular with technological companies. Social media companies are rich in user data, making them the ideal avenue for hackers looking to obtain and sell the data on the dark web. Some of the largest players in the industry, such as Facebook, Yahoo, and LinkedIn have fallen victim to breaches that have happened in the past.
The costs associated with data breaches in 2021 increased to $4.24 million compared to the $3.86 million reported in 2020. This was the highest amount that has ever been reported in the IBM annual study for 17 years.