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Twitter Hack: Apple, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and other accounts hacked for bitcoin scam

Early this morning, multiple high-profile verified Twitter accounts were compromised in what is reported to be an unprecedented Twitter attack. Accounts including big name brands such as Apple and Uber, as well as high-profile individuals including Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, Kanye West, Mike Bloomberg, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos were affected in the Twitter hack.

Twitter hack
Source: The Verge

It seems that the tweets had appeared after 4pm ET (4am Malaysian time). Twitter had acknowledged the issue at around 5:45pm ET (5.30am Malaysian time) and says it was investigating and taking steps to fix it. As an added measure, Twitter had started preventing verified accounts from tweeting at around 6pm ET (6.00am Malaysian time) which is said to be the first in the company’s history and it urged users to reset their passwords. The restrictions were lifted about 2 hours and 41 minutes later.

Twitter hack
Source: The Verge

The compromised Twitter accounts were sharing similar messages promising to double your bitcoin if you transfer some to a particular wallet address. To create urgency, the tweet said that this “bitcoin doubling” activity would only last for 30 minutes.

The issue here is that these are verified accounts which users supposedly can trust by looking at the blue tick next to the profile name. It isn’t clear how many users were fooled into sending bitcoins to the said address.

As pointed out by Motherboard, some underground hacking community had discovered an admin control panel which is used by Twitter internally. It is said that this panel can be used to change ownership of accounts and it is suspected that this could be misused to take over verified Twitter accounts, overriding existing security measures including two-factor authentication (2FA). It is reported that Twitter has deleted some of the panel screenshots and have suspended accounts that have tweeted them.

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Twitter has not officially revealed the source of the hack. At the time of writing, it isn’t clear if the bitcoin scam tweets were done by internal staff or by an external party that has gained access to their admin panel. 1 bitcoin (BTC) is currently priced at USD 9,197.99 which is around RM39,232.


Alexander Wong