July 15, 2020
The Twitter accounts of several of the world’s most famous people and companies appear to have been hacked in a major security breach.
Tweets published on the Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos and many others appear to be pushing a Bitcoin scam.
“We are giving back to our community. We support Bitcoin and we believe you should too,” reads one such message on Apple’s account.
“All Bitcoin sent to our address below will be sent back to you doubled,” it adds, before publishing a link.
Many of the tweets have been republished after being deleted.
The tweets are being deleted often minutes after appearing, but they are sweeping across the accounts of the blue-tick famous, raising huge questions over Twitter’s security.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama has been among the victims of the attack, as you can see from the tweet cached by Google. This one is particularly pernicious, attempting to persuade people to click to raise funds for a Covid-19 fund.
The account of famous financier Warren Buffett also published the same scam tweet:
The highly coordinated attack has also hit the Twitter accounts of cryptocurrency firms, lending credibility to the fake tweets.
The bitcoin addresses being used to collect funds appear to be accepting a large number of transactions, suggesting the scam has been successful, although it may be that the scammers are generating fake transactions in a bid to make the donations look authentic.
Some security experts have expressed surprise that Twitter hasn’t taken its service offline until the situation can be remedied.
The sheer scale of the breach suggests that individual accounts have not been compromised, but that a hacker has gained access to the Twitter authorization system or staff member accounts, allowing them to post tweets on the accounts of the famous individuals and companies.
A message on the official Twitter Support account states: “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 has also stated that verified, blue-tick accounts may be unable to tweet until the issue has been resolved.
Barry Collins Contributor
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