Update: Late Wednesday night, Twitter revealed what it knows so far about the hack that targeted dozens of high-profile accounts on its service — and it isn’t much.
Dozens of high-profile Twitter accounts were seemingly hacked in a massive Bitcoin scam on Wednesday afternoon, with each account tweeting out messages offering anyone thousands of dollars worth of cryptocurrency. After more than an hour, the social network disabled tweeting from verified accounts in order to stop the message from spreading.
Former president Barack Obama, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, entertainer Kanye West, and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg all fell victim to the hack. Tech companies like Apple and Uber also posted the scam message.
Each hacked account tweeted that it would double payments sent to its BTC addresses within the next half hour. The tweets have since been deleted from most accounts. The scam appeared to be at least somewhat successful — according to Blockchain.com, more than $100,000 had been sent to the Bitcoin wallet posted in the messages.
“We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter,” Twitter posted on its support account. “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
Major accounts started to tweet the scam message around 1:45 p.m. PT. Twitter appeared to be struggling to control the scam, with Musk’s account sending it out once again just before 3 p.m. PT. Just after 3 p.m. PT, Twitter appeared to disable tweeting for all verified accounts.
A Twitter spokesperson told Digital Trends that it was looking into the issue but could not provide additional details.
The attack was likely the most high-profile and successful hack in Twitter’s history. The widespread nature of the scam messages make it likely that Twitter itself was hacked, rather than individual accounts. Cameron Winklevoss, co-founder of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, said that its Twitter account had a strong password and two-factor authentication enabled, but was still hacked.
A spokesperson for Bill Gates confirmed to Recode’s Teddy Schleifer that the hack was a Twitter-wide issue.
“We can confirm that this tweet was not sent by Bill Gates,” the spokesperson said. “This appears to be part of a larger issue that Twitter is facing. Twitter is aware and working to restore the account.”
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