Major Twitter accounts hacked in mass Bitcoin scam
Thursday, 16 July 2020
Some of Twitter’s major accounts, including those belonging to Bill Gates, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Elon Musk and Barack Obama, were temporarily hacked today in what Twitter called a “coordinated attack.”
The organisation added that hackers “successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”
We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.
Hackers used the accounts to reach the combined Twitter audience of over 300 million followers with suspicious tweets. Each post referred to ‘giving back’ to ‘fans’, ‘the community’, or simply ‘everyone’. Followers were asked for a donation via a Bitcoin link. The scammers promised that the donated amount would then be doubled, and sent back to the follower.
Most tweets were taken down minutes later. It is currently unclear if hackers succeeded in scamming any users.
Other accounts hacked include those of Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Joe Biden, billionaire Mike Bloomberg, and the company Twitter accounts of Apple and Uber. All accounts involved were verified accounts, carrying a ‘blue tick’.
“Internally, we’ve taken significant steps to limit access to internal systems and tools while our investigation is ongoing. More updates to come as our investigation continues,” the Twitter support account posted.
The accounts were locked after the hack was discovered, and Twitter said it would grant access to the legitimate owners of the accounts “only when we are certain we can do so securely.”
Currently, all tweets posted by the hackers have been taken down, and the accounts were restored to their original state.
“Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened,” the executive chief of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, tweeted in response to the hack.
Jack Dorsey is an avid investor incryptocurrency himself, with some news services reporting that he spends around $10,000 a week on Bitcoin. Last month, Dorsey told business news outlet Quartz that “having a global currency,” like the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, will “allow companies like ours to move much faster and reach a lot more people.”
In the Netherlands, far-right politician Geert Wilders’ Twitter-account was taken over today in a seemingly unrelated hack. Wilders, who is famous for his anti-Moroccan sentiment, temporarily displayed a Moroccan flag on his profile.