A number of high profile Twitter accounts including that of US presidential hopeful Joe Biden, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates and of Apple were simultaneously hacked on Wednesday by attackers to carry out what appeared to be a cryptocurrency scam.
According to The Verge, The Tesla CEO’s account issued a strange tweet at 4:17 pm ET this afternoon reading, “I’m feeling generous because of Covid-19. I’ll double any BTC payment sent to my BTC address for the next hour. Good luck, and stay safe out there!” The tweet also contained a bitcoin address, presumably one associated with the hacker’s crypto wallet.
The tweet was then deleted and replaced by another one more plainly laying out the fake promotion. “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,” it read before also getting deleted.
Bill Gates tweet was similar to Elon Musk’s and with identical BTC address. It was also later deleted. Both accounts are continuing to post new tweets promoting the scam almost as fast as they are deleted.
Shortly after the initial wave of tweets, the accounts of Apple, Uber, and Kanye West have also been hacked and are promoting the show widespread the operation is, but it appears to be affecting major companies and extremely high-profile individuals.
Popular crypto Twitter accounts, including those of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’ Gemini cryptocurrency exchange and widely used wallet app Coinmbase, were also compromised.
In a first response after the incident, Twitter Support tweeted: “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 also halted the ability for some accounts to send new tweets following a massive hacker attack on the social media website.
“You may be unable to Tweet or reset your password while we review and address the incident,” Twitter Support tweeted.
“We’re continuing to limit the ability to Tweet, reset your password, and some other account functionalities while we look into this. Thanks for your patience, ” it added.
While Twitter hasn’t confirmed how the block works, it appears to only apply to accounts that have been verified by Twitter, The Verge said. Twitter’s verification system grants a blue checkmark to let users know that an “account of public interest is authentic.”