High-profile Twitter accounts, including those of Barack Obama, Elon Musk and Kanye West, have been hacked as part of a widespread cryptocurrency scam.
The social media site temporarily stopped all verified accounts from tweeting last night while it investigated the incident, in which messages were posted encouraging users to send $1,000 (£794) to a Bitcoin address.
The false tweets said: “I am giving back to my community due to Covid-19! All Bitcoin sent to my address below will be sent back doubled.
“If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000!
“Only doing this for the next 30 minutes! Enjoy.”
Twitter has confirmed that the attack was the result of a “social engineering” scheme by hackers who targeted Twitter staff with access to the site’s “internal systems and tools”.
According to publicly available blockchain records on Thursday morning, the Bitcoin address received over 110,000 dollars (£88,000) from hundreds of transactions.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey said: “Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened.”
Security expert Will Geddes told talkRADIO the incident had “undermined the verification process” – referring to the blue tick attributed to profiles with large followings.
“The whole idea of having verified accounts was that those individuals would not be mimicked or cloned and dupe members of the general public or other members of that social media platform.”
Other accounts affected included Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian West, Mike Bloomberg, Apple, and Uber.
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