Some of the world’s most influential people, including celebrities, tech pioneers, and politicians, were victims of a massive Twitter account hack on Wednesday. A few of the world’s richest people, including Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk, were also victims. The accounts of politicians Joe Biden, former U.S. President Barak Obama, and celebrities such as Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West were also hacked. Many global companies such as Apple, Uber, and Tesla were also compromised by the Twitter hack.
Hackers posted similar tweets from these verified accounts requesting donations in cryptocurrencies and claimed they would give back double the amount they received from users. Potentially thousands of users were scammed after they sent money to the bitcoin wallet mentioned in the tweets.
Some of the tweets included:
“Everyone is asking me to give back,” a tweet from Bill Gates’ account said. “You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”
“I am giving back to the community,” was the tweet from Joe Biden and Barack Obama asking their followers to send $1,000 in bitcoins to receive $2,000.
According to Twitter’s internal systems, these false tweets reached over 350 million people in a few minutes. And thousands of people sent money to the hacker’s bitcoin wallet.
How did this massive Twitter hack happen?
Twitter has revealed some information about the unprecedented attack that resulted in numerous hacks of high-profile verified users. Twitter’s support channel in a series of tweets revealed that its internal systems were compromised.
One of the first tweets from Twitter in response to the hack said, “We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”
What did Twitter do once the attack began?
About an hour after the attack began, Twitter took actions to lock down the affected accounts and deleted all the tweets posted by the attackers. Concerning the situation, Twitter said, “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.”
As a safety measure, Twitter also blocked all its users from being able to tweet bitcoin wallet addresses on the platform for the time being. The company also limited the features of all the verified accounts on the platform as a precautionary measure. Twitter is currently investigating the cause of the hack and is reaching out to users in tweets on its Twitter support page.
If your account was locked, this does not necessarily mean we have evidence that the account was compromised or accessed. So far, we believe only a small subset of these locked accounts were compromised, but are still investigating and will inform those who were affected.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 16, 2020
The incident also caught the attention of the FBI, and San Francisco’s FBI field office said in a statement, “We are aware of today’s security incident involving several Twitter accounts belonging to high profile individuals. The accounts appear to have been compromised in order to perpetuate cryptocurrency fraud. We advise the public not to fall victim to this scam by sending cryptocurrency or money in relation to this incident.”
Twitter hack: This isn’t the first time
This is not the first time the social media platform has fallen prey to hackers. Twitter has been in the news several times over the past few years for being compromised by cyberattacks. Last year, Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey’s account was hacked. The company then said that it fixed the security flaw that caused the attack.
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