LONDON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Hackers stole the email addresses of more than 200 million Twitter users and posted them on an online hacking forum, a security researcher said Wednesday.
The breach “will unfortunately lead to a lot of hacking, targeted phishing and doxxing,” Alon Gal, co-founder of Israeli cybersecurity-monitoring firm Hudson Rock, wrote on LinkedIn. He called it “one of the most significant leaks I've seen.”
Twitter has not commented on the report, which Gal first posted about on social media on Dec. 24, nor responded to inquiries about the breach since that date. It was not clear what action, if any, Twitter has taken to investigate or remediate the issue.
Reuters could not independently verify the data on the forum was authentic and came from Twitter. Screenshots of the hacker forum, where the data appeared on Wednesday, have circulated online.
Troy Hunt, creator of breach-notification site Have I Been Pwned, viewed the leaked data and said on Twitter that it seemed “pretty much what it’s been described as.”
There were no clues to the identity or location of the hacker or hackers behind the breach. It may have taken place as early as 2021, which was before Elon Musk took over ownership of the company last year.
Claims about the size and scope of the breach initially varied with early accounts in December saying 400 million email addresses and phone numbers were stolen.
A major breach at Twitter may interest regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. The Data Protection Commission in Ireland, where Twitter has its European headquarters, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission have been monitoring the Elon Musk-owned company for compliance with European data protection rules and a U.S. consent order respectively.
Messages left with the two regulators were not immediately returned on Thursday.
Ford’s business accomplishments are the stuff of legend. In the early 20th century, he brought to car manufacturing two transformative ideas: interchangeable parts and the assembly line. Together, they turbocharged his company’s production rates, enabling Ford to reduce the price of its flagship Model T by more than two-thirds between 1908 and 1925, when it cost $260 (about $4,400 today). At one point, over half of all cars in the world were Model Ts.
Musk, for his part, is credited with making electric vehicles cool instead of dorky. Starting with the release of the Roadster in 2008, Tesla’s sales of electric cars have dwarfed those of its competitors. The company has capitalized on several innovative business tactics, such as selling directly to consumers, issuing over-the-air software updates, and offering house calls from vehicle technicians. Tesla has loosely followed Musk’s famous 2006 “master plan” of designing high-end EVs before moving down-market with more affordable models. (That said, Tesla—unlike Ford—has not come close to producing a true vehicle for the masses, unless you count the $46,000-plus you’ll pay for a Model 3 before incentives). At age 50, Musk was named Time’s Person of the Year in 2021.
Ford, too, seemed to be on top of the world when he turned 50 in 1913, as the Model T was transforming the country. His 1914 promise of a $5 workday drew thousands of young men from Midwestern farms to Detroit, helping to make Ford himself a topic of national fascination. He became the recognizable face of the automobile industry, producing a wildly popular product that suggested a thrilling future of transportation. According to Heather Barrow’s book Henry Ford’s Plan for the American Suburb, Ford pooh-poohed transit, claiming that subways would eventually be used to park cars. That suggests yet another parallel with Musk, who once said, “I think public transport is painful. It sucks.” Thus far, his vision of subterranean, autonomous tunnels has produced a single 1.5-mile track used by Las Vegas conference attendees who ride inside Teslas—with human drivers.
But then Henry Ford’s life took a grim turn toward bigotry. In 1918 Ford bought a local newspaper, the Dearborn Independent. At a time when hundreds of thousands of Jews were fleeing pogroms in Europe, the paper published a torrent of vicious antisemitism, such as the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion and a series titled “The International Jew: The World’s Problem.” According to Steven Watts’ book The People’s Tycoon, the resulting backlash included condemnation from former presidents William Taft and Woodrow Wilson and at least one Ford dealership (in Iowa) ending its relationship with the company.
Musk, for his part, bought Twitter last year and now wields it as a weapon against “the woke mind virus.” Transgender people have been a frequent target; Musk tweeted that “pronouns suck,” and last month the San Francisco Chronicle accused him of “leaning into transphobia.” Musk’s politicization of Twitter and embrace of the right seem to be taking a toll on Tesla’s business, much as disgusted Jews once refused to buy Fords.