On Wednesday, Twitter accounts of many celebrities including U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality television show star Kim Kardashian, former U.S. President Barack Obama, billionaire Elon Musk, and rapper Kanye West were hacked on Wednesday.
Others affected include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and the corporate accounts for Uber and Apple. Several accounts of cryptocurrency-focused organizations were also hijacked.
The scam posted tweets on behalf of Gates and Musk stated a Bitcoin wallet address along with the promise of sending back double the amount of BTC if a user sends a certain amount to the designated wallet first. The scam appeared to happen in two rounds, wherein the scammers posted similar Bitcoin-scamming tweets for the second time from both Gates’ and Musk’s accounts, after their first tweets were deleted.
NEW: Hackers take over Twitter accounts of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and many more. pic.twitter.com/UGXEkYunHb
— Norbert Elekes (@NorbertElekes) July 15, 2020
The scam message posted from Musk’s profile was more obvious to being detected as fake. It said, “You know I living giving back to my community. I’m doubling all BTC payments sent to my address. You send $1,000 and I will send #$2,000 back! Tell your family & friends! Only going on for 30 minutes. (sic)” The first tweet posted from Musk’s account was equally out of shape, with the tweet claiming Musk to be feeling “greatful”.
While scams such as these are fairly common, what’s concerning is how the scammers gained access to high profile Twitter accounts such as Gates’ and Musk’s. Even though an official statement is awaited at the moment, the structuring of the tweets, coupled with the claims posted on the tweets, all point to the same perpetrator behind this crypto-jacking effort.
The Twitter hack appears to be far wider than two accounts, with Apple’s and Jeff Bezos’ accounts reportedly targeted as well. Alleged tweets on the matter cite publicly available data to claim that the scam has so far seen over 160 incoming transactions to the mentioned BTC wallet, amounting to collections of over $40,000 (~Rs 30 lac) in Bitcoin already.
Twitter has taken cognisance of the matter, and stated that it is investigating the incident.
We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 15, 2020
As people on Twitter noticed the worrying trend of hack, they couldn’t help but link it to money heist, as well as turning into sleuths to find out the reason behind it.
This ain't an incident, this is a heist.
— M3thods (@M2Madness) July 15, 2020
— Louan ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽 (@louanben) July 15, 2020
The hackers rn pic.twitter.com/u1b0t2K6wc
— 𝙚𝙣𝙫𝙮 🎪 (@envyrgn) July 15, 2020
— Akshay More (@akmore114) July 15, 2020
— Tom Law🗯 (@Lawry1994) July 15, 2020