It’s Raining Nigerian Princes! Users Send Bitcoin to Jeff Bezos & Elon Musk After Twitter Hack

Technology

It’s Raining Nigerian Princes! Users Send Bitcoin to Jeff Bezos & Elon Musk After Twitter Hack

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

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.

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 list included Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and funnily enough, going by screenshots that were shared later, the official Twitter support handle.

The scam post also made history as Apple’s first ever tweet to its 4 million followers.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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