Con artists on Wednesday apparently hacked into the Twitter accounts of technology moguls, politicians and major companies in an apparent bitcoin scam.
The ruse included bogus tweets from Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and a number of tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The fake tweets offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to a bitcoin address.
The cause of the breach was not immediately clear, but the scale and the scope of the problem suggested that it was not limited to a single account or service.
Shares of Twitter tumbled nearly four percent in trading after the market close.
You may be unable to Tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 15, 2020
Twitter said in an email that it was looking into the matter and would issue a statement shortly.
Some of the tweets were swiftly deleted but there appeared to be a struggle to regain control of the accounts. In the case of billionaire Musk, for example, one tweet soliciting cryptocurrency was removed and, sometime later, another one appeared.
Note the email addresses change. Twitter has no reason to give employees native access to impersonate users.
Accounts are being stolen, auth token generated, and tweeted from. Note how legitimate users still have tokens to delete tweets. Not a clean hit.https://t.co/grlhbkhVhR
— Swift⬡nSecurity (@SwiftOnSecurity) July 15, 2020
Among the other accounts affected were those of Uber and Apple.
Publicly available blockchain records show that the apparent scammers have already received more than $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency.