Twitter accounts of prominent figures like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg, Joe Biden, Kanye West were hacked yesterday afternoon EDT. The hacked Twitter accounts were used for a Bitcoin Scam which has already earned the hackers over $100,000 in a few hours. Twitter has blocked many of the accounts to prevent from tweeting until the issue is entirely resolved.
At first, the accounts of major cryptocurrency players including Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, Bitfinex, Gemini, Coinbase, Coindesk were hacked in the early afternoon yesterday. All the accounts shared the same tweet about “giving back to the community” and a link to a site called Cryptoforhealth which does not load anymore.
The hackers soon hackers the accounts of high-profile tech executives, companies, celebrities, and politicians who posted tweets which were blatantly obvious but coming from a reputed and trusted account people fell for it. Moreover, several non-verified accounts also sent out similar messages, but it is still not clear if the accounts were compromised or they were just bots. All the tweets across the hacked accounts read “I am giving back to the community”, a tweet reads. “All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back double! If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000. Only doing this for 30 minutes.”
All the messages trace back to the same digital wallet. At 3:03 pm EDT, it received its 1st incoming transaction, since then it has received more than 300 transactions among which most of them were outgoing.
Bitcoin scams of this kind are not something unheard of; people usually create fake celebrity accounts to scam people all the time. But this time they went the extra mile and hacked the celebrity accounts on Twitter for this purpose.
Ronnie Tokazowski, a senior threat researcher at the email security firm Agari, stated “These scams work because of a gambling mentality: Give a little bit of money, get a lot of money,” he also added “Just the idea of risk versus reward. It’s especially dangerous right now because so many people are struggling.”