Scammers targeted some of the biggest names on Twitter to try and get some cash. Entertainment Tonight reports that former President Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Joe Biden, Kim Kardashian West, and Kanye West are among just a few of the names that were hacked. Twitter users may have noticed a few of their favorite accounts were posting strange messages about Bitcoin, urging users to donate cryptocurrency. Apple and Uber were also impacted.
The tweets generally began with a similar message, stating that the individual wanted to give "back to the community" before sharing a Bitcoin wallet address. The tweets went on to tell users they would double the amounts that they sent in.
"I'm feeling generous because of Covid-19," a now-deleted tweet from Musk's account read. "I'll double any BTC payment sent to my BTC address for the next hour. Good luck, and stay safe out there!"
Twitter Support addressed the issue, saying that that it is "aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly."
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 Support (@TwitterSupport) July 15, 2020
BuzzFeed reports that even two-factor authentication wasn't enough to keep hackers out. Cryptocurrency publication CoinDesk had its account hacked and noted that a number of the affected accounts had two-factor security enabled.
Previous cryptocurrency scams — BuzzFeed notes that similar issues been around for more than two years — have tried to mimic verified Twitter users. Today's attack didn't create new accounts with similar handles, avatars, and cover photos. Instead, the unknown hacker managed to get access into real accounts The initial scam tweet promoting the giveaway appeared on Musk’s account, which has nearly 37 million followers, at 1:17 p.m. PDT. His account posted at least three tweets from the hacker.
"Twitter locked down the account immediately following the breach and removed the related tweet," a campaign spokesperson for Joe Biden told BuzzFeed News. "We remain in touch with Twitter on the matter."
BuzzFeed notes that the website that was connected to the scam was created this morning, at 10:36 a.m. PDT. It was down before Musk's tweet went live.
"The current financial system is outdated and COVID-19 has made serious damage to the traditional economy ,To help in these hard times For COVID19 Huobi, Kucoin, Kraken, Gemini, Binance, Coinbase & Trezor are partnered to give back to the community," the now-deleted site read, adding that it was promoting the hashtag #cryptoagainstcovid.