Twitter accounts of prominent American personalities, including billionaire Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, have been subjected to electronic piracy in what appears to be a Bitcoin fraud.
The official accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Kanye West also called for donations in cryptocurrency.
And Bill Gates said in a tweet: “Everyone is asking me to return the favor. Send me $ 1,000, and I’ll send you 2,000.”
Twitter said that what happened was a “coordinated attack” targeting its employees through parties with “entry details of internal systems and tools” in the company.
The company added in a series of tweets: “We know that they (the pirates) used these details to control several very prominent accounts, among them reliable accounts (the identities of their owners have been verified), and send tweets in their names.”
She said that “important steps” have been taken to limit access to such internal systems and tools that have helped hackers, as the company continues to investigate what has happened.
“It is a difficult day for us on Twitter. We all feel bad because this happened,” Twitter CEO Jacques Dorsey wrote.
Earlier, Twitter had to take an unusual step by disabling the ability of many trusted accounts, marked with a blue tick, to send tweets.
The company also suspended requests to change passwords, in addition to disabling other “properties” in these accounts.
By 20:30 EST, on Wednesday, users with trusted accounts were able to post Tweets again, but Twitter said it was still working on fixes.
“This appears to be the worst hacking of a social networking site yet,” Dmitry Alberovich, one of the founders of Crowd Strike Cybersecurity, was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.
In the official account of MASK, the chairman of Tesla and Spice X, he appeared to offer twice as much as any amount paid in Bitcoin to his digital portfolio address “within the next 30 minutes.”
“A feeling of generosity is controlling me because of Covid-19,” said the tweet, accompanied by a link to Bitcoin.
The tweets were removed minutes after they were posted.
But with the first tweet being deleted from the Mask account, a second, then a third tweet appeared.
Among the other targets were:
Rapper Kanye West
TV star Kim Kardashian
Former US President Barack Obama
Obama’s former vice president and current Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden
Leading American media entrepreneur Mike Bloomberg
Uber Passenger Delivery Service
Biden’s campaign campaign said that Twitter: “Close the hacked account within minutes of the attack, and delete the tweets.”
A spokesman for Bill Gates told AFP: “This appears to be part of a major problem facing Twitter.”
Some fake tweets asked users to go to cryptoforhealth.com, an address that was recorded by electronic diskette using an email address firstname.lastname@example.org, according to a BBC security source.
This person used to register that website with a name that is “Anthony Elias”, and it may be a pseudonym.
He also found that the site’s name was registered on Instagram, and it appears that it was registered in conjunction with the occurrence of piracy.
“We are the actors,” the account-linked description says on Instagram. Next to that sentence, he put a little smiley emoji.
The user wrote on Instagram a message saying: “This was a charitable attack. Your money will find its way to the right place.”
The identities of the conspirators who masterminded the attacks are unknown.
The BBC’s Cyber Security Editor, Joe Teddy, says such fraud is something Twitter has suffered for years, but this time the attack was unprecedented because it targeted prominent figures and was widespread.
The CEO’s Twitter account itself was hacked last year, and the company said at the time that it had fixed the vulnerability that made his account vulnerable to hacking.
But the breadth of what happened on Wednesday indicates a problem with the Twitter platform itself. Some explanations indicate that someone obtained administrative privileges by which he managed to bypass the password problem for a large number of accounts.
And the editor adds that the goal of the process seems clear: to get the most money quickly. But you do not know how much the attackers were able to get.
Some reports indicate that the total contributions contributed by the donors may have amounted to more than $ 100,000.
Millions of users follow their VIP accounts.
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