Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Apple and Kanye West were among several high profile figures and entities whose Twitter accounts were targeted by hackers in an apparent Bitcoin scam last night.
Hackers took control of the various verified accounts through a “coordinated” attack on Twitter employees “with access to internal systems and tools” to request donations in cryptocurrency, according to BBC.
“Everyone is asking me to give back,” a tweet from Bill Gates account said, before asking for a Bitcoin payment. “You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”
“We are giving back to our community,” read another Tweet from Apple. “We support Bitcoin and believe you should too! All Bitcoin sent to our address below will be sent back to you doubled!”
Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, Tesla and other companies “tweeted” that he’d be doubling the amounts sent to a digital wallet “for the next 30 minutes”.
All of the tweets were deleted minutes after they were posted.
Jeff Bezos, Barrack Obama, Uber, Warren Buffett and Joe Biden were also among the victims of the scam.
“We know they [the hackers] used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf,” a series of tweets from Twitter itself explained.
“Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened,” said Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey.
Twitter also said “significant steps” were being taken to limit access to the vulnerable internal tools while investigations are being conducted.
“This appears to be the worst hack of a major social media platform yet,” co-founder of cybersecurity company, CrowdStrike, Dmitri Alperovitch told Reuters.
“It’s clear the company is not doing enough to protect itself,” said Oren Falkowitz, former CEO of Area 1 Security.
It is clear that this latest breach will have severe effects on the reputations of not only on Twitter, for its inability to protect its users, but also for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general, for their capacity to be a conduit for online criminal behaviour.