Tech

Twitter has temporarily switched off tweeting by SMS thanks to its CEO Jack Dorsey getting hacked

Business Insider US
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 09:  Twitter CEO Jack
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (L) and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speak at a press event at CES 2019 at the Aria Resort & Casino on January in Las Vegas (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
  • Twitter has temporarily turned off its tweet by SMS function after its CEO Jack Dorsey's account was attacked.
  • A hacker group called the "Chuckling Squad" gained access to Dorsey's account and used it to tweet racist and anti-Semitic slurs.
  • The hackers reportedly did so by using a tactic called "SIM hacking" whereby a hacker tricks a mobile carrier into transferring the victim's cellphone number onto a new phone, which is owned by the hackers, and then uses Twitter's tweeting by text service to publish tweets on the victim's account.
  • For more stories go to www.businessinsider.co.za.

Twitter has temporarily turned off its tweeting by SMS service after its CEO Jack Dorsey's account was hacked.

While most people use Twitter's app or website, in the early days of the platform it was common to use the text-to-tweet function and it still exists today. Users can simply text a number on their phone to post tweets on their feed and receive notifications. It's this function that has been disabled.

That's after a hacker group called the "Chuckling Squad" gained access to Dorsey's account on Friday and used it to tweet racist and anti-Semitic slurs.

The hackers are thought to have gained access to the account by using a tactic known as "SIM hacking," whereby a hacker tricks a mobile carrier into transferring the victim's cellphone number onto a new phone, which is owned by the hackers. They then would have used Twitter's tweeting by text service to publish tweets on the victim's account.

In its announcement on Thursday, Twitter wrote: "We're taking this step because of vulnerabilities that need to be addressed by mobile carriers and our reliance on having a linked phone number for two-factor authentication (we're working on improving this)."

Twitter added that this feature will be reactivated in the markets that depend on it as soon as possible. Text-to-tweet is likely more commonly used in emerging markets that have poor or no mobile internet coverage.

Dorsey has kept a low profile on Twitter for the past few days. On Wednesday, he finally broke his five-day silence, tweeting: "Hello Melbourne," as he continued on an ongoing world tour.

He didn't initially address the hacking until prompted by New York Times journalist Kate Conger in a Twitter exchange.

Dorsey told Conger that he hadn't been on Twitter because he's had an issue with his carrier. He also said that he hasn't got a replacement phone number yet.

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