Twitter says it’s “aware of a security incident impacting accounts” as the accounts of high profile individuals such as Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk are reportedly hacked in an apparent bitcoin-related scam.
The list of high profile accounts continues to mount, but so far there has been no official comment from Twitter on the severity of the attack at the time of this publication, but the social media company issued a brief statement saying it was “aware of a security incident impacting accounts” on the platform.
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.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 15, 2020
Since most of the posts have already been deleted, users are sharing screenshots of the alleged hacked tweets, which make them more time-consuming to verify.
It has been reported that in addition to Musk, Gates, and Obama that the Twitter accounts of Kanye West, Jeff Bezos, and Joe Biden were also compromised in what The Verge called “one of the most widespread and confounding hacks the platform has ever seen.”
Joe Biden spokesperson on Twitter account breach:
“Twitter locked down the account immediately following the breach and removed the related tweet. We remain in touch with Twitter on the matter.”
— Scott Nover (@ScottNover) July 15, 2020
The tweets in question all had similar wording and messaging — that the high profile individual was “giving back” and anyone who sent them bitcoin would receive double in return, but only within a 30 minute time frame.
How many people fell for the scam is anyone’s guess.
“We can confirm that this tweet was not sent by Bill Gates,” a spokesperson for Bill Gates told GeekWire. “This appears to be part of a larger issue that Twitter is facing. Twitter is aware and working to restore the account.” https://t.co/Kku63Jzj8r
— GeekWire (@geekwire) July 15, 2020
Update, July 16: BBC reports, “There are conflicting accounts of how much money the hackers have made and even when a figure is settled upon, it’s important to remember that cyber-criminals are known to add their own funds into their Bitcoin wallets to make the scam seem more legitimate.”