Washington DC, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- The Twitter accounts of United States public figures and corporations including Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Barack Obama and Apple were hacked Wednesday in a large cryptocurrency scam.
Other compromised accounts included those of the presumptive Democratic nominee for the US presidential election, Joe Biden, as well as Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, singer Kanye West, and Uber.
The hackers published similar messages on each, offering to double the money that users send in Bitcoin to a virtual cryptocurrency wallet.
“I am giving back to the community. All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled! If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000. Only doing this for 30 minutes,” said a message on Biden’s account.
A similar message on Bezos’ account promised to deliver $50 million, while Uber’s promised $100 million.
“Due to COVID-19, we are giving back over $10,000,000 in Bitcoin! All payments sent to our address below will be sent back doubled,” said the message on the account of the ride hailing company.
Although most messages were quickly erased, according to The New York Times at least 300 people fell for the scam, depositing more than $100,000 between them.
With Musk’s account, for example, multiple messages were posted over a period of an hour after they were deleted.
Twitter recognized the breach in its security system and said it was investigating the incidents.
“We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter,” the company said on Twitter. “We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly.”
The company took the unusual step of preventing some accounts from publishing messages altogether.
“You may be unable to Tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident. 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.
Uber later said on Twitter that “Like many others, our @Uber account was hit by a scammer today. The tweet has been deleted and we’re working directly with @Twitter to figure out what happened.”
“This appears to be the worst hack of a major social media platform yet,” Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, told Reuters.
Twitter later said that “most accounts should be able to Tweet again. As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”
The incident was a show of force and its consequences could have been greater given the importance of the affected accounts if the hackers had objectives other than asking for money for Bitcoin. EFE-EPA