Hackers involved in the high-profile hijacking of Twitter accounts earlier this week were young pals with no links to state or organised crime, The New York Times reported Friday.

“Instead, it was done by a group of young people – one of whom says he lives at home with his mother – who got to know one another because of their obsession with owning early or unusual screen names, particularly one letter or number, like @y or @6.”

Posts trying to dupe people into sending hackers the virtual currency bitcoin were tweeted by the official accounts of Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and many others on Wednesday.

They contended they were only involved in commandeering lesser-known Twitter accounts, particularly to swipe coveted short handles such as an “@” sign and single letters or numbers that could easily be sold, according to the report.

“Possession of these OG accounts confers a measure of status and perceived influence and wealth in SIM swapping circles, as such accounts can often fetch thousands of dollars when resold in the underground,” Krebs said in a post.

The young hackers maintained they stopped serving as middlemen for “Kirk” when high-profile accounts became targets.Hackers involved in the attack on Twitter advertised account names at an OGusers.com website, asking for payment in bitcoin, according to the Times report.

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