Technology

Money heist gone real on Twitter: Crypto scammers hack Twitter account of Gates, Musk, Biden, Obama & more

“I’m feeling generous because of Covid-19,” a now-deleted tweet from Musk’s account reads. “I’ll double any BTC payment sent to my BTC address for the next hour. Good luck, and stay safe out there!”

Hackers promoting crypto scams took over a number of high-profile Twitter accounts on Wednesday, including Bill Gates, Kanye West and Elon Musk, who has been a frequent target of crypto scammers. Joe Biden’s account was also briefly taken over, as was Barack Obama’s. Accounts belonging to Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Jeff Bezos and a number of other celebrities and public figures were also hit.

“I’m feeling generous because of Covid-19,” a now-deleted tweet from Musk’s account reads. “I’ll double any BTC payment sent to my BTC address for the next hour. Good luck, and stay safe out there!”

Crypto scammers hack Twitter account of Gates, Musk, Biden, Obama & more

Similar tweets were sent through the Twitter account belonging to Gates, the billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder. “I am doubling all payments sent to my BTC address for the next 30 minutes. You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000,” the tweet, which was deleted, read.

Subsequently Obama’s account tweeted a similar message shared by Musk and Gates. In a tweet sent to his 120 million followers, Obama’s account tweeted that he was giving back because of the novel coronavirus and he would double all bitcoin sent to his address for the next 30 minutes.

Musk and Gates weren’t the only high-profile accounts that appear to have been compromised. Scammy tweets were seen in the feeds for fast food chain Wendy’s, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, philanthropist Warren Buffett, musician Wiz Khalifa, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and celebrity Kim Kardashian. Scammers also appear to have targeted athletes, such as former professional boxer Floyd Mayweather and even a popular parody account for God, along with cryptocurrency businesses.

The scammers appeared to run two schemes at the same time, hacking a number of cryptocurrency Twitter accounts to spread a fake link.

Bitcoin, Ripple, CoinDesk, CoinBase and Binance were all hacked and sent out the same message.

“We have partnered with CryptoForHealth and are giving back 5000 BTC to the community,” all the companies tweeted, followed by a link to a website which has since been taken down.

“This is a SCAM, DO NOT participate!” Gemini cryptocurrency exchange co-founder Cameron Winklevoss warned in a tweet from his official account at Twitter.

“This is the same attack/takeover that other major crypto Twitter accounts are experiencing. Be vigilant!” it added.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the hack was conducted or how many accounts were impacted, although Twitter did provide an update late on Wednesday indicating that while it’s investigation into the hack was ongoing, it had determined it to be the result of a “coordinated social engineering attack.”

 Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded to the attack this morning, saying it was a “tough day for us at Twitter”.

“We all feel terrible that this happened. We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened,” Mr Dorsey tweeted.

 

Once the dust settled, Twitter users were quickly reminded of the account of US President Donald Trump. With the accounts of former US President Obama being compromised as was Democratic presidential candidate Biden, Trump somehow seemed to have escaped unscathed from the hackers. But did he? Once Twitter became aware of the incident, the microblogging website limited the functionality of verified accounts for a brief moment.

This is not the first time that Twitter has reported a massive hack. In March 2017, the accounts of Amnesty International, the French economics ministry and the BBC’s North America service were broken into by hackers believed to have been loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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