By Arré Bench Jul. 16, 2020
In what seems to be the most obvious scam since Nigerian princes first got access to hotmail, nearly identical tweets were posted on a number of verified Twitter accounts, including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, requesting their followers to send bitcoin, in exchange for more bitcoin. It was later revealed to be a coordinated hack.
The Twitter accounts of some of the most famous people in the world, including big names in tech, like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, were hacked last night.
In what seems to be the most obvious scam since Nigerian princes first got access to hotmail, nearly identical tweets were posted on a number of these verified accounts, requesting their followers to send bitcoin, in exchange for more bitcoin.
— Pratik Modi🇮🇳 (@pratikmodi2) July 15, 2020
The first of these scam tweets was apparently traced back to Elon Musk’s handle, which posted: “Feeling grateful, doubling all payments sent to my BTC address! You send $1,000, I send back $2,000! Only doing this for the next 30 minutes.”
Ignoring the obvious flaw that some of the richest people in the world would hardly need to crowdfund bitcoin from random users — even if they were truly feeling generous — copycat tweets surfaced on some of the site’s biggest accounts.
The scam post also made history as Apple’s first ever tweet to its 4 million followers.
— Rebel With(out) a Cause (@ramchrisali) July 15, 2020
yep, this has to be a site-wide hack
no way they’re brute forcing their way into these accounts pic.twitter.com/ehcqKJo5Mk
— Quinn Nelson (@SnazzyQ) July 15, 2020
While it may seem tempting to believe that no one who knows how bitcoin works would be silly enough to fall for this obvious scam, the linked cryptocurrency wallet ended up collecting over $1,00,000 as of 4 am.
It’s safe to say that money isn’t going to double any time soon.
Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kanye West, Elon Musk, Wiz Khalifa, Apple, Uber and Jeff Bezos all hacked and tweets have been put out from these accounts for people to send money to a Bitcoin address and $113,000 has been sent so far, wow! #Hacked pic.twitter.com/gdGzuMNYZc
— Benue Breed ❄️ (@oyimzy) July 15, 2020
It’s an actual wallet address and there are transactions happening. It’s unclear if these transactions are legit. Scammers often seed their own scams to give them the appearance of authenticity. https://t.co/GUHEDaKNxu pic.twitter.com/xfhl3817xr
— Ryan Mac 🙃 (@RMac18) July 15, 2020
Twitter eventually blocked all verified accounts from posting, or changing their passwords while they looked into the matter, leading the social media’s smaller accounts into thinking the revolution had finally begun.
Unverified twitter users after verified users get hacked and cant tweet pic.twitter.com/SJh6apDa6d
— Timbo (@mytweetsbad) July 15, 2020
So how did the hackers do it?
According to an official Twitter statement the hack was a “coordinated social engineering attack by people who targeted their employees with access to internal systems and tools”. Which presumably means that the scammers gained access to Twitter’s internal systems through an employee, rather than by hacking each account individually.
Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened.
We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened.
💙 to our teammates working hard to make this right.
— jack (@jack) July 16, 2020
Twitter HQ right now as big verified accounts are being hacked:
— ʎpuıƆ ♎️🦄 (@hippielilicaxo) July 15, 2020
To make things worse, this isn’t the first time Twitter has been hacked. In 2019, even CEO Jack Dorsey’s became a victim, after hackers put out sexist, racist and anti-Semitic comments from his official handle.
With some of the most famous people in the world also now vulnerable to hacks, pressure is growing on the company to fix their security flaws. Until then, maybe don’t send Elon Musk any bitcoin!