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Photo illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The hackers who compromised high-profile Twitter accounts this week were a "group of young people" who connected over an interest in "owning early or unusual screen names," the New York Times reported Friday.

Why it matters: That the hackers weren't state-backed or tied to a sophisticated criminal enterprise will likely come as a relief to the public figures — among them Elon Musk, Barack Obama and Bill Gates — who were targeted. But the scheme sowed chaos and uncertainty all the same.

Details: The Times interviewed four people claiming responsibility for the hack and verified their accounts through logs of conversations held while the attack took shape, as well as bitcoin transactions only the hackers could have performed.

  • The hackers used their access to high-profile accounts to promote a scam soliciting bitcoin.
  • The characterization of the attackers as a group of young, amateur hackers who have a track record of targeting accounts with short, catchy handles like @y and @6 squares with intel that has circulated in hacking and cybersecurity circles since Wednesday's scam.

Go deeper

Twitter to label state-affiliated media accounts

Photo Illustration: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter will begin labeling accounts belonging to state-affiliated media outlets from countries on the U.N. Security Council, it announced Thursday.

The big picture: The new policy will affect “outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content” in China, France, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S., according to the announcement.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Health

Moderna exec says children could be vaccinated by mid-2021

Tal Zaks, chief medical officer of Moderna, tells "Axios on HBO" that a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for children by the middle of next year.

Be smart: There will be a coronavirus vaccine for adults long before there is one for kids.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sen. Kelly Loeffler to return to campaign trail after 2nd negative test

Sen. Kelly Loeffler addresses supporters during a rally on Thursday. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-Ga.) campaign announced Monday that she "looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail" after testing negative for COVID-19 for a second time, following earlier conflicting results.

Why it matters: Loeffler has been campaigning at events ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff in elections that'll decide which party holds the Senate majority. Vice President Mike Pence was with her on Friday.

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