Hackers Appear to Hijack High-Profile Twitter Accounts in Apparent Bitcoin Scam

RADIO.COM Staff
July 15, 2020 - 5:28 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A flood of high-profile celebrities and politicians had their Twitter accounts hacked Wednesday afternoon as part of an apparent Bitcoin scam that silenced many on the platform for hours as the company worked to address the security breach.

Accounts that were targeted included former President Barack Obama, Apple, Uber, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Elon Musk, former Vice President Joe Biden, Warren Buffett and more.

High-profile celebrities, such as Kanye West, were also hacked.

The tweets asked people to submit Bitcoin payments to a seemingly random address to have the payment doubled in return.

For example, in a tweet posted to Bill Gates' account, the fraudulent Tweet asked people to send $1,000 to the Bitcoin address to receive $2,000 back.

"I am giving back to the community. All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled! If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000. Only doing this for 30 minutes," a pinned tweet on Musk's account read before it was removed minutes later.

Sources told CBS News that whoever was behind the hack made $100,000 in the 5 p.m. hour.

Around 5:45 p.m. Twitter said, "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."

As the company worked to fix the hack, users were told they might be unable to post or change passwords.

The tweets asked people to submit bitcoin payments to a seemingly random address to have the payment doubled in return.

"You may be unable to Tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident," Twitter said in a statement.

This mainly appeared to impact verified accounts, those with the blue checkmark. That includes the MTA, which uses Twitter to announce service alerts an respond to customer inquiries.

"We can’t tweet service alerts or respond to customer questions from NYCTsubway and nyctbus right now due to Twitter’s data breach. Please check MTA website for latest service information," New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg tweeted.

By 8:41 p.m., Twitter said the ability to tweet had returned to most accounts, but the company was contuining to work on fixing the hack.

"Most accounts should be able to Tweet again. As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We're working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible."

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