The Twitter accounts of some of United States’ prominent political leaders from former President Barack Obama to current presidential candidate Joe Biden and business leaders Tesla’s Elon Musk to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and also celebrities from Wiz Khalifa to Kanye West & his wife Kim Kardashian West, were targeted in the hack that took place on Wednesday in a deceptive effort to fabricate a Bitcoin scam.
Hackers broke into the Twitter accounts and sent bogus tweets offering to double any Bitcoin payment directed to the address of the given (or his/her) digital wallet “for the next 30 minutes”.
Further saying, “I’m feeling generous because of Covid-19 “, along with a Bitcoin link address.
As these tweets were in the process of removal, another one appeared, and then one more.
Twitter claimed it was a “coordinated” attack, aiming its employees “with access to internal systems and tools”.
The company told in a series of tweets, “We know they [the hackers] used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf”. While the company’s investigation was continuing, “significant steps” were taken to curb access to the company’s internal systems and tools.
The targeted Twitter handles were of :
- Tesla & SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk
- Founder of Microsoft Bill Gates
- Founder & CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos
- Former US President Barack Obama
- Former US Vice-President Joe Biden, who is the current presidential candidate
- Media billionaire Mike Bloomberg
- The ride-sharing app Uber
- The tech giant Apple
- Former professional boxer Floyd Mayweather
- The rapper Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian West, who is a reality TV star.
Co-founder of cyber-security company CrowdStrike, Dmitri Alperovitch told Reuters news agency: “This appears to be the worst hack of a major social media platform yet.”
Cryptocurrency expert Arjun Vijay, who is also the co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Giottus Cryptocurrency Exchange, said “It was a well-coordinated attack, where multiple accounts got hacked at the same time, with the same tweets directing users to the same scam site. Unfortunately, more than 373 users fell for the scam globally, losing an estimated Rs 89 lakh before Twitter stepped in to remove the tweets.”
A statement came from the US’s domestic intelligence and security agency FBI about the latest cyber-breach.
It said, “The accounts appear to have been compromised in order to perpetuate cryptocurrency fraud… We advise the public not to fall victim to this scam by sending cryptocurrency or money in relation to this incident.”
Inputs from: EconomicTimes.indiatimes.com, Bloomberg.com, BBC.com