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How Coinbase stopped the Twitter Bitcoin hack from being even worse

The hackers behind last week’s massive Twitter security breach made off with more than $100,000 through their Bitcoin giveaway scam. But it could have been much worse.

Quick responses from Twitter and Bitcoin exchanges like Coinbase reportedly kept a combined $300,000 away from the hackers’ pockets.

In a preliminary effort to stop the breach as it was happening, Twitter blocked all posts with Bitcoin addresses, before going further to block tweets from any verified Twitter accounts for several hours, according to Forbes.

Not only did Bitcoin exchanges slow down the Bitcoin wallet addresses used in the hack, but several cryptocurrency companies stopped their clients from sending funds as well, Forbes reported. One company, Coinbase, told Digital Trends prevented almost 1,100 users from being defrauded in the hack, saving almost $280,000 in Bitcoin.

Other high-profile exchanges like Gemini, Kraken, and Binance all attempted to stop the transfer of funds to the hackers as well, according to Forbes.

twitter and laptop hacked
Digital Trends Graphic

Digital Trends reached out to Twitter to confirm the steps it took to mitigate the hack. We will update this story when we hear back.

Hackers were able to gain control of over 130 high-profile Twitter accounts as part of the breach, with celebrities like Kanye West, former President Barack Obama, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, and others affected.

The hackers then used their accounts to tweet out a fake bitcoin matching scam, in which the accounts claimed they would match any Bitcoin sent to a particular wallet.

While the main attack in the Twitter breach was the Bitcoin scam, the hackers were also able to gain unprecedented control of certain accounts. Twitter announced that at least eight accounts had their data and private messages downloaded, although none of the users were verified.

The perpetrators have yet to be publicly identified. Twitter said the hackers were able to gain control of internal tools using “social engineering.”

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Zoe Christen Jones
Zoe Christen Jones is a breaking news reporter. She covers news, digital culture, tech, and more. Previously, she was…
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