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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.

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court judge on Friday temporarily blocked New York City schools from enforcing a vaccine mandate for school employees, days before it was set to take effect, AP reports.

Driving the news: The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

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