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X says hacker used third party to gain access to US government account

The social media site determined that the U.S. Securities and Exchanges account did not have two-factor authentication enabled when it was breached.
X says hacker used third party to gain access to US government account
Posted at 3:25 PM, Jan 10, 2024

The social media website X — formerly known as Twitter — is now asking users to bolster account security on the platform after a United States government account was hacked and used to share false information.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's account on X posted Tuesday that the agency had granted "approval for Bitcoin ETFs for listing on all registered national securities exchanges" and that the "approved Bitcoin ETFs will be subject to ongoing surveillance and compliance measures to ensure continued investory protection."

The post generated over 35,000 likes and more than 26,000 retweets in just 18 minutes before being deleted. SEC Chair Gary Gensler then took to X to explain that the agency's account had been hacked.

"The @SECGov twitter account was compromised, and an unauthorized tweet was posted," Gensler said. "The SEC has not approved the listing and trading of spot bitcoin exchange-traded products."

SEE MORE: How can you protect yourself from being a victim of a cyberattack?

A preliminary investigation conducted by X Safety determined that an "unidentified individual" did not gain access to the account by breaching X's systems, but rather by obtaining a phone number associated with the account through a third party. 

"We can also confirm that the account did not have two-factor authentication enabled at the time the account was compromised," X Safety said. "We encourage all users to enable this extra layer of security."

An SEC spokesperson said it will continue to investigate the account breach and is coordinating with appropriate law enforcement agencies, including the SEC's Office of the Inspector General and the FBI.

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