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Personal data stolen from accounts, says Twitter

Twitter does not name the owners of the eight accounts but says it was 'reaching out directly to any account owner where we know this to be true'

Twitter has said that cyber attackers stole the personal data of as many as eight of the user accounts that were hacked last week, which could include phone numbers and private messages.  

Hackers took over the official accounts of dozens of politicians, celebrities and high-profile business people, including democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Kim Kardashian.

Late on Friday, Twitter said in a blog post that attackers “took the additional step of downloading the [account] information” of up to eight of the accounts targeted using its so-called “Your Twitter Data” tool.  

The feature allows users to download their personal information and activity on Twitter, including private messages, phone numbers associated with the account and the devices used to log in to that account. 

Twitter did not name the owners of the eight accounts, but said it was “reaching out directly to any account owner where we know this to be true”. It also said that none of those accounts was verified.

It added: “We’re embarrassed, we’re disappointed and, more than anything, we’re sorry. We know that we must work to regain your trust and we will support all efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Both the FBI and New York state announced investigations into the hack on Thursday, which also hit the business accounts of Apple and Uber. 

The probes come as questions remain about whether employees were tricked into handing over access to the administrative systems or co-operated with hackers and whether hackers are now in a position to extort the victims whose messages they accessed. 

Depending on the security procedures Twitter had in place ahead of the incident, the company could face a privacy investigation from regulators in California, according to privacy lawyers, or lawsuits from aggrieved users. 

FURTHER READING: Twitter reveals further details on Wednesday’s hack

 FURTHER READING: Prominent Twitter accounts hacked in Bitcoin scam