The Twitter accounts of some of the world’s most powerful people, including Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Michael Bloomberg were compromised earlier today, with hackers using their access to tweet out a Bitcoin scam. Bitcoin worth more than $100,000 have reportedly been transferred to the hackers.
The compromised accounts included former President Barack Obama, current Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, businessman and former Democrat presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Other effect accounts reportedly include brands such as Apple and Uber, and entertainers like Kanye West. Early reports included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s account in the hack, but some are now disputing that.
— Mike Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey) July 15, 2020
The hack put the accounts of some of the world’s most powerful people in the hands of an unknown party, who used their control to start a cryptocurrency scam, asking the accounts’ followers to send quantities of Bitcoin to a digital wallet belonging to the hackers.
The scam messages told Twitter users that they would be beneficiaries of billionaire philanthropy, receiving double what they paid into the Bitcoin wallet. “I am doubling all payments sent to my BTC address for the next 30 minutes,” said the scam messages. “You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) July 15, 2020
Many Twitter users fell for the scam, with the Bitcoin wallet racking up the equivalent of $110,000 according to the blockchain, which tracks Bitcoin activity.
Details are still emerging about what accounts were affected, but early reports indicate that they include rapper Kanye West, Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, and the corporate accounts of Apple and Uber in addition to Obama, Bloomberg, Musk and Gates.
In addition to the Bitcoin scam, the hack may have exposed the private Twitter messages of a former President of the U.S., a current Presidential candidate, and the Prime Minister of Israel to an unknown third party.
Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Uber, Apple, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Michael Bloomberg have been hacked. Did I miss anyone?
— Katherine Ross (@byKatherineRoss) July 15, 2020
Twitter stock has begun to slide following news of the hack, reportedly falling 4 percent after hours.
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
“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,” said an official Twitter account.
In response to the hack, Twitter has apparently locked all verified Twitter accounts, commonly referred to as “blue check” accounts. In response, non-verified accounts have begun to celebrate:
when the blue checks can't tweet pic.twitter.com/VQKDqpKHiq
— Benjamin Page (@Benapage) July 15, 2020
Blue checks coming up with tweets in the shower with no way to post pic.twitter.com/J2fWdqDziN
— Sickoh (@Sickoh) July 15, 2020
Blue checks have no voice WHAT A DAY TO BE ALIVE!!!! pic.twitter.com/zgYRkJQywT
— LemonQ (@LemonQ20456168) July 15, 2020
This is a developing story.
Update — Added the fact that Twitter has locked all verified accounts on the platform.
Are you an insider at Google, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.