Twitter is suspending the ability to tweet via SMS after hackers took advantage of the feature to tweet unsavory content from Jack Dorsey's account.
Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, drew the ire of netizens after he had tweeted a racial slur, bomb threat, and other crude messages on the site. As it turns out, it wasn't him. Hackers were able to exploit vulnerabilities present in Twitter's SMS integration and gained access to Dorsey's account and prompted to share the tweets in question.
"We're taking this step because of vulnerabilities that need to be addressed by mobile carriers," Twitter announced in a series of tweets about shutting down the SMS feature temporarily.
Jack Dorsey Twitter Hack
After Dorsey's account shared a series of racist and offensive tweets for about 20 minutes, Twitter promptly acknowledged that someone had hacked his account. The tweets appear to have been sent not by hacking Dorsey's actual account, but by convincing Twitter's systems that they had his phone and were texting the tweets to his account. This way, it's likely the hackers wouldn't even have needed his password or been asked to input it.
In a statement addressing the incident, Twitter said the issue was resolved quickly. Asked whether the hacking led to Twitter's temporary shutdown of SMS tweeting, a spokesperson said that it's safe to assume ongoing issues with the vulnerability caused the company to take the action it did.
As mentioned, this change is merely temporary. Twitter said it will "soon" re-enable the tweet via text option in markets that depend largely on SMS for reliable communication as it keeps working on its longer-term strategy for the feature.
The company said it's making the change to "protect people's accounts." It also blamed mobile carriers, saying they must address vulnerabilities and exploits that allow such misuse. For its part, Twitter admitted that it needs to improve its two-factor authentication system as well, which relies on text messages and therefore has risks of being compromised similarly.
Apart from Dorsey's account, hackers also appear to have hijacked actress Chloë Grace Moretz's account as well. Her account recently tweeted vile language and links to Instagram, where there were supposedly nude photos of other celebrities. It's unclear how the hackers gained access to Moretz's account.
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