A French hacker has hacked Twitter and exposed the very secrets the company wants kept secret. The hacker that operates under the pseudo, Hacker Croll, gained access to various email, Paypal, Amazon, Apple , AT&T, MobileMe, and Gmail accounts of twitter employee including Evan Williams, his wife, Margaret Utgoff, and Kevin Thau.
The documents reveal that the company is spending millions in VC money trying to lure popular personalities and influencers to use Twitter to grow the user base faster by using their names so they can cash out big. Some of the people on the list include Wyclef Jean, DuranDuran, Cartoon Network, Cisco, UCLA, Guillaume Pepy (CEO of one of the biggest french company, the SNCF), Nirvana, Toshiba, 50 Cents, and more.
The strategy is to create an account in the personality’s name and seed it with users. Then, contact the personality and tell them that they are popular, have millions of followers, and ask them to use Twitter and endorse it.
Kayne West had alleged that it happened to him as well. Now, Twitter has created an account in the name of French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, and is desperately working to get him to use it.
The Twitter plan is all about an exit, exit, exit. Grow the user base fast and do anything necessary to get there so that an acquirer will find it worth buying. Twitter is aiming to hit 100 million users by the end of 2010 and 350 millions by the end of 2011, and that is why it might be deploying these tactics.
The hacker was also able to get the following information on Twitter:
- the complete list of employees
- their food preferences
- their credit card numbers
- some confidential contracts with Nokia, Samsung, Dell, AOL, Microsoft and others
- direct emails with web and showbizz personalities
- phone numbers
- meeting reports (very informative)
- internal document templates
- time sheet
- applicant resumes
- salary grid (time for me to move..lol)
Here are some screen snapshots from the hack: