Twitter hack hits Elon Musk, Obama, Kanye West, Bill Gates and more in Bitcoin fraud

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Twitter hack hits Elon Musk, Obama, Kanye West, Bill Gates and more in Bitcoin scam

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The Bitcoin fraud as it appeared on Elon Musk’s Twitter feed.


Screenshot by Chuck Reynolds/CNET

Bitcoin fraudsters targeted the Twitter accounts of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Barack Obama and other well-known tech executives, performers and political leaders on Wednesday in what seems a massive hack. Apple, Uber and other organizations were likewise captured up in the stretching hack, which Twitter later on credited to a social engineering attack on its staff members.

Twitter accounts with countless fans appeared to have actually been jeopardized, raising issues about whether the business is doing enough to secure the security of its users. While cryptocurrency frauds aren’t a brand-new issue for Twitter, the size of Wednesday’s attack is uncommon. 

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

Similar tweets were sent out through the Twitter account coming from Gates, the billionaire benefactor 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 erased, checked out.

This is the fraud tweet sent out from Bill Gates’ account. (The Bitcoin address has actually been eliminated from this screenshot.)


Screenshot by Ian Sherr/CNET

The fraud tweets would regularly disappear, just to come back minutes later on. 

A representative for Gates validated the tweet wasn’t sent out by the billionaire.

“We can confirm that this tweet was not sent by Bill Gates. This appears to be part of a larger issue that Twitter is facing. Twitter is aware and working to restore the account,” the representative stated in a declaration. 

Obama’s account tweeted a message comparable to the one shared by the Musk and Gates accounts. In a tweet sent out to his 120 million fans, Obama’s account tweeted that the previous president was returning since of the unique coronavirus which he would double all bitcoins sent out to his address for the next 30 minutes.

It wasn’t instantly clear how the hack was carried out or the number of accounts were affected, although Twitter did offer an upgrade late Wednesday, showing that while its examination into the hack was continuous, the business had actually identified it to be the outcome of a “coordinated social engineering attack.”

“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,” Twitter stated in a tweet.  (For ideas on how to protect your Twitter account, see this CNET story.)

But for the hack’s very first 2 hours, Twitter didn’t guide the event. In a tweet, the business stated some users may not have the ability to tweet or reset their password as they examined and took on the issue. Twitter likewise started eliminating tweets of screenshots revealing internal tools that were potentially utilized in the attack.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted Wednesday night that it was “a tough day for us at Twitter” and assured to share the business’s findings when it finished its medical diagnosis of the hack.

Some users who attempted to tweet got a mistake message, stating this appeared to use just to validated users with “blue checks.”

“This request looks like it might be automated. To protect our users from spam and other malicious activity, we can’t complete this action now. Please try again later,” the message read. Twitter didn’t react to concerns about whether just validated accounts could not tweet. 

Twitter has actually now eliminated this constraint. Users with validated accounts are now able to tweet once again, however Twitter Support mentioned that performance might “come and go.”

“We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible,” the tweet read.

The fraud tweets end with a link indicating where unwary readers can send out bitcoin. As of Wednesday afternoon, a check of the BTC address from the tweets reveals an overall gotten of 12.30776555 BTC, or approximately $113,572.

The Wednesday hack isn’t the very first time that Twitter accounts have actually been jeopardized by fraudsters. In 2018, hackers took control of the validated Twitter accounts of Target and Google’s G Suite. In that attack, hackers made use of a third-party marketing service, not its own system, according to the business. 

Even Dorsey hasn’t been immune from hacking. In 2019, Dorsey’s account was jeopardized and the hackers tweeted out sexist, racist and anti-Semitic remarks. Twitter stated there was a security problem with Dorsey’s mobile supplier that enabled the hackers to make up and send out tweets from his account by means of text. In a technique referred to as SIM switching, a hacker allurements a staff member of a mobile supplier to get them to change the numbers connected to the SIM card. That permits them to bypass security procedures such as two-factor authentication. 

Politicians prompted others not to succumb to the Bitcoin fraud, and some connected to Dorsey for responses. Shortly after the hack happened, Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, asked Dorsey in a letter to react to concerns such as whether the attack threatened the security of President Donald Trump’s account and its effect on the security of other users.

“I am concerned that this event may represent not merely a coordinated set of separate hacking incidents but rather a successful attack on the security of Twitter itself,” he stated in the letter.  “A successful attack on your system’s servers represents a threat to all of your users’ privacy and data security.”

On Thursday, Sen. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, contacted Twitter to describe how the hack occurred.

“While this scheme appears financially motivated and, as a result, presents a threat to Twitter users, imagine if these bad actors had a different intent to use powerful voices to spread disinformation to potentially interfere with our elections, disrupt the stock market, or upset our international relations,” Markey stated in a declaration. “That is why Twitter must fully disclose what happened and what it is doing to ensure this never happens again.”

Musk and Gates weren’t the only prominent accounts that appear to have actually been jeopardized. Scammy tweets were seen in the feeds for junk food chain Wendy’s, Democratic governmental prospect Joe Biden, benefactor Warren Buffett, artist Wiz Khalifa, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and celeb Kim Kardashian. Scammers likewise appear to have actually targeted professional athletes, such as previous expert fighter Floyd Mayweather, and even a popular parody represent God, in addition to cryptocurrency organizations.

“ALL MAJOR CRYPTO TWITTER ACCOUNTS HAVE BEEN COMPROMISED,” tweeted Cameron Winklevoss, co-founder of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange. “We are investigating and hope to have more information shortly.”

“WARNING: @Gemini’s twitter account, along with a number of other crypto twitter accounts, has been hacked,” added Tyler Winklevoss, echoing his twin sibling and Gemini co-founder’s issue. “This has resulted in @Gemini, @coinbase, @binance, and @CoinDesk, tweeting about a scam partnership with CryptoForHealth. DO NOT CLICK THE LINK! These tweets are SCAMS.”

Tesla didn’t instantly react to an ask for remark. In the United States, #hacked was trending in addition to Bitcoin and #twitterhacked. 



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