Twitter account of America’s popular companies and individuals got hacked on Wednesday generating a buzz on all social media platforms. The list includes Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Tesla’s Alon musk, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, former President Barack Obama, Singer and composer Kanye West and others comprising 14 celebrities or businessman. It was considered as “one of the most widespread and confounding breaches the platform has ever seen” by Nick Statt, an author on The Verge.
Twitter hacked has been considered as the major “Bitcoin Scam” because all the accounts which have been hacked have requested for donations from people in the form of cryptocurrency. Hackers targeted Twitter accounts of these influential personalities and companies and posted to help people.
“Everyone is asking me to give back,” a tweet from Mr Gates’ account said. “You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”
Twitter specified that It’s a co-ordinated attack on its employees to get access to internal tools and systems. US Senate Committee has demanded a brief description of the incident and Twitter’s clarification on the security as well.
“We know they [the hackers] used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf,” the company said in a series of tweets.
Some significant steps had been taken by the company like providing limited access to Internet systems and tools. Twitter also blocked some Bitcoin wallet addresses. Meanwhile, Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey tweeted: “Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened.”
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
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre said its officers had a precise meeting with the tech firm.
“While this appears to be an attack on the company rather than individual users, we would urge people to treat requests for money or sensitive information on social media with extreme caution,” it added in a statement. Yet some people apparently fell for the scam and sent money to the associated BTC address, as records of the transactions are public due to the nature of the blockchain-based cryptocurrency.
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
On that note, US politicians had some questions, as Republican senator questioned by writing to the company asking if President’s account have been vulnerable. “It cannot be overstated how troubling this incident is, both in its effects and in the apparent failure of Twitter’s internal controls to prevent it,” Senator Roger Wicker wrote to the firm .
Twitter earlier had to take the extraordinary step of stopping many verified accounts marked with blue ticks from tweeting altogether.
We have locked accounts that were compromised and will restore access to the original account owner only when we are certain we can do so securely.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 16, 2020
Password reset requests were also being denied and some other “account functions” disabled.
By 20:30 EDT (00:30 GMT Thursday) users with verified account started to be able to send tweets again, but Twitter said it was still working on a fix.
The hacking of the accounts appears to be the worst case of cybersecurity flaws as within a minute SpaceX and Tesla have appeared as a philanthropists who are kind enough to double the payment sent to the address of the digital wallet “for the next 30 minutes”. The message “I’m feeling generous because of Covid-19”, the tweet added, along with a Bitcoin link address.
According to a cyber-security reporter Joe Tiedy, “There are conflicting accounts of how much money the hackers have made and even when a figure is settled upon, it’s important to remember that cyber-criminals are known to add their own funds into their Bitcoin wallets to make the scam seem more legitimate.” As per an article on BBC.
This is a SCAM, DO NOT participate! This is the same attack/takeover that other major crypto twitter accounts are experiencing. Be vigilant! Situation is ongoing.https://t.co/2k9U3PpnKm
— Cameron Winklevoss (@winklevoss) July 15, 2020
Cameron Winklevoss, as the first-ever Bitcoin Billionaire in 2017 along with his brother Tyler tweeted this message warning people from investing and participating in the Scam like these.
The FBI’s San Francisco field office put out a statement on Wednesday about the latest cyber-breach.”The accounts appear to have been compromised in order to perpetuate cryptocurrency fraud,” it said.
“We advise the public not to fall victim to this scam by sending cryptocurrency or money in relation to this incident.”
Maharashtra Cyber Department have also attached an advisory in which instructions are given to the users to use online platforms such as social media carefully. It also directed the users to check the security of the page before entering sensitive information like bank account details. It has also been told to change the password regularly and report on the official website of cybercrime.
The lines have become blurred when it comes to the identification of what’s original and what’s fake. So, awareness and research is important before handing any offline or online activity.