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Expert says Twitter breach undermines trust

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Tech industry analyst Charlene Li with Altimeter says a breach in Twitter's security that allowed hackers to break into the accounts of leaders and technology moguls may shake trust in the platform. (July 16)

Video Transcript

CHARLENE LI: Somebody got into all of these VIPs, everyone from Joe Biden to Elon Musk to Apple, and they were able to post one message that said send us bitcoin so we can return it back two times to you, and a couple people did, and they think about $100,000 went to these scammers. So it caused a huge uproar because they sort of realized there was this hack, and they have to shut down key parts of the system for a couple hours night.

The scam itself wasn't that bad. The bigger concern is that these scammers could do it, these hackers actually got into the systems of all of these people. And the difference here is that they didn't break into the end users' accounts, they broke through this Twitter system account. So this is a capability within Twitter to be able to go into people's accounts and take control of them.

They could have just cut and pasted the same message, but every single one of them was crafted to the way that that leader would speak to their audiences. It was not only the fact that they could do this, but they could emulate the tone and the cadence and that voice of each of those people.

Twitter's response has been we know we have a problem and we're working on it. Trust us. Which is in many ways, not adequate, because when such a big breach happens, you want to answer for the fact that why was there one single point of failure here, versus multiple ways to make sure that nothing goes wrong? Trust is the core issue here. Do we trust Twitter with our accounts? Do we trust that they are going to do the right thing? And when your credibility is hurt by an incident like this, you have to work extra hard to rebuild that reputation and rebuild that trust.