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A screenshot of Mike Bloomberg's Twitter page after it was hacked on Wednesday as part of a widespread cryptocurrency scam.

The Associated Press

Shares of Twitter Inc dropped more than 4 per cent in pre-market trading on Thursday, a day after hackers gained access to the social media company’s internal systems to hijack accounts of several politicians, billionaires, celebrities and companies.

Hackers infiltrated the Twitter handles of U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, former U.S. President Barack Obama and billionaire Elon Musk to solicit digital currency – raising major concerns about security on the widely-used platform.

The hack “certainly doesn’t help,” Joe Wittine, Edgewater Research analyst, told Reuters in an e-mail. It will pose more of a “reputational risk,” versus “material near-term risk to advertising revenues.”

Story continues below advertisement

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates' Twitter page after it was hacked Wednesday.

The Associated Press

Twitter said hackers targeted employees with access to its internal systems and “used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf.”

In an extraordinary step, Twitter temporarily prevented many verified accounts from publishing messages as it investigated the breach.

Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey said in a tweet on Wednesday that it was a “tough day” for everyone at Twitter and pledged to share “everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened.”

Former U.S. President Barack Obama's Twitter page after it was hacked on Wednesday.

The Associated Press

Other high profile accounts that were hacked included rapper Kanye West, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates, and the corporate accounts for Uber and Apple Inc. Several accounts of cryptocurrency-focused organizations were also hijacked.

Publicly available blockchain records show that the apparent scammers received more than $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

The extraordinary hacking spree that hit Twitter on Wednesday, leading it to briefly muzzle some of its most widely followed accounts, is drawing questions about the platform's security and resilience in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election. Reuters

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