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Hackers Seize Popular Twitter Accounts for Giant Bitcoin Scam

Scammers have gained access to a number of high-profile Twitter accounts, including those of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Kanye West, and Elon Musk

Today, hackers gained control of a number of Twitter accounts, and used them to scam people out of their Bitcoin money. As we have reported before, the security within Bitcoin actually seems to facilitate scams.

In the current ripoff, scammers have gained access to a number of high-profile Twitter accounts, including those of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Kanye West, and Elon Musk. Their usual line is that they are seeking matching donations to a good cause. So if the user sends Bitcoin to a certain wallet address, the high-profile Twitter account will send a matching donation. However, the wallet address (and the promised match) are both frauds, and the money goes straight into the scammers’ pockets.

It is unclear how the scammers managed to gain access to all of these accounts, as it seems that many users continue to get hacked after deleting the problematic tweets (and presumably changing their password). Some have suggested that the hackers have penetrated a high-level Twitter admin account, while others opine that the hackers have penetrated a multi-platform social media distribution service that the Twitter account holders are subscribed to.

Much of the reporting on this attack comes from the Malware Tech Blog’s Twitter account:

Anyway can view the account that money is coming into at this link. As noted earlier, because Bitcoin has made itself secure for hackers and not for ordinary people, knowing where the money is going doesn’t help anyone to stop it or return the stolen goods. As of this writing, just a few hours in, the scammers have collected over $100,000.

There seems to be an additional scam involving retweeting+following, as the image below indicates. It is unclear if the hackers are using this to send a DM with Bitcoin transfer information, or if this is related to how they are gaining new accounts to take over.

Just be aware, if you’re online, even things that come from reputable sources can be scams. Hackers can take control. Be careful and stay safe out there.


Further reading:

Is Bitcoin safe? Why the human side of security is critical.

and

Bitcoin: Is lack of trust the biggest security threat? It’s almost a parable: Everyone can see, no one can access, the millions trapped in the ether by a password known only to a dead man.


Jonathan Bartlett

Fellow, Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence
Jonathan Bartlett is a senior software R&D engineer at Specialized Bicycle Components, where he focuses on solving problems that span multiple software teams. Previously he was a senior developer at ITX, where he developed applications for companies across the US. He also offers his time as the Director of The Blyth Institute, focusing on the interplay between mathematics, philosophy, engineering, and science. Jonathan is the author of several textbooks and edited volumes which have been used by universities as diverse as Princeton and DeVry.

Hackers Seize Popular Twitter Accounts for Giant Bitcoin Scam