Twitter Contractors Reportedly Used Internal Tools to Spy on and Track Celebrities

The hack that happened two weeks ago on Twitter has left the company reeling. A lot of big name accounts were compromised and this all happened because of the fact that malicious actors were able to access the internal tools that certain Twitter employees had access to. These tools can allow certain Twitter employees to reset accounts or handle violations of terms of use but if misused they can lead to cyber attacks such as the one that occurred on the 15th of July this year.

It turns out that security issues are no new thing for Twitter. Its security issues used to be so rampant a couple of years ago that outside contractors were able to utilize some of the tools that have been discussed above, and it is important to note that they used these tools rather maliciously. According to a report by Bloomberg, outside contractors provided to Twitter by Cognizant, a professional services vendor that is still on Twitter’s payroll, manipulated the system to spy on celebrities.

They would do this by generating help desk queries and then using these queries to access celebrity Twitter accounts. Beyonce in particular is a very visible celebrity that was spied on, and information such as her location data gleaned from nearby IP addresses. This is a serious violation of some very popular users of Twitter, and it’s the sort of thing that would most likely make celebrities that are already wary of being spied on avoid using Twitter altogether.

This is a PR disaster for Twitter, and with all of that having been said and out of the way the company needs to reconsider its involvement with a vendor that allowed its contractors to run wild with a client’s sensitive internal tools. Twitter also needs to reflect on how lax security was that access to such sensitive data could be obtained so easily by third parties.

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