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Hackers Tricked AT&T, Network Solutions Employees in Tesla Attack

The official website and Twitter accounts of Tesla Motors were briefly hijacked over the weekend. The electric car manufacturer has provided some details on the attack.

Some of the users who visited this weekend were presented with a message that read, “Hacked by Autismsquad!” The attackers also hijacked official Tesla Twitter accounts along with the Twitter account of the company’s CEO, Elon Musk.

The hackers used the hijacked social media accounts to post messages stating that Tesla was giving away free cars to those who follow certain Twitter accounts and call a phone number. An individual claiming it was his phone number that was leaked accused Julius Kivimaki, an alleged member of the Lizard Squad group, of being behind the attack on Tesla.

According to Tesla, the attackers defaced via a DNS hijack attack, not by breaching the company’s servers. Apparently, the hackers social engineered employees of AT&T and Network Solutions in order to hijack the website and Twitter accounts.

“This case is under investigation, here's what we know: Posing as a Tesla employee, somebody called AT&T customer support and had them forward calls to an illegitimate phone number. The impostor then contacted the domain registrar company that hosts, Network Solutions,” a Tesla spokesperson told SecurityWeek. “Using the forwarded number, the imposter added a bogus email address to the Tesla domain admin account. The impostor then reset the password of the domain admin account, routed most of the website traffic to a spoof website and temporarily gained access to Tesla’s and Elon’s Twitter accounts.”

“Some customers may have noticed temporary changes to on their browsers or experienced difficulty when using our mobile app to access Model S. Both were due to being re-routed,” the Tesla representative added. “Our corporate network, cars and customer database remained secure throughout the incident. We have restored everything back to normal. We are working with AT&T, Network Solutions, and federal authorities to further investigate and take all necessary actions to make sure this never happens again.”

This isn’t the first time hackers hijack high-profile websites through Network Solutions. In 2013, pro-Palestine hacktivists changed the DNS records of several antivirus companies after Network Solutions employees fell victim to social engineering attacks.

AT&T employees are also known to fall victim to social engineering scams. Back in 2012, hackers breached CloudFlare after tricking AT&T customer support into redirecting the voicemail of the company’s founder to a phone number they controlled.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.