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Bitcoin Twitter Hackers Stole More Than $116,000 From People

Bitcoin Twitter Hackers Stole More Than $116,000 From People

Hackers who used the Twitter accounts of some of the world's most powerful people to scam their followers, may have made off with more than $116,000 (£92,000).

In what is believed to be one of the largest hacks ever, the likes of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, Tesla boss Elon Musk and former US president Barack Obama all saw their accounts taken over.

On Wednesday morning, hackers used these accounts to share a status update promising to double any donations made to a specific account, which was named in the tweet.

Obama's tweet read: "I am giving back to my community due to Covid-19!

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"All Bitcoin sent to my address below will be sent back doubled. If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000!

Accounts of some of the world's most powerful people were hacked. Credit: Twitter
Accounts of some of the world's most powerful people were hacked. Credit: Twitter

*Fake account number*

"Only doing this for the next 30 minutes. Enjoy!"

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However, it later became clear that it was, in fact, a hack, and some 378 transactions had been made using the accounts named in the message.

According to industry website Blockchain.com, which monitors transactions made in cryptocurrencies, at least 12.58 bitcoins, worth around $116,000, had been sent to the addresses mentioned in the tweets.

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Once news broke that the tweets were part of a major con, people poked fun at those who sent their money to the accounts and Twitter's security team for failing to act quicker.

One person said: "Who seriously falls for this s***? It's illogical."

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While another added: "Y'all really still falling for the oldest trick in the book in 2020."

Dmitri Alperovitch, one of the co-founders of cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, told Reuters: "This appears to be the worst hack of a major social media platform yet.

"We are lucky that, given the power of sending out tweets from the accounts of many famous people, the only thing that the hackers have done is scammed about $110,000 in bitcoins from about 300 people."

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Speaking to Al Jazeera, Ina Fried, chief technology correspondent at Axios, said the scam showed how important it was for people to be careful around cryptocurrencies.

She said: "Bitcoin is something that can be turned into cash very quickly, anonymously.

"Is it a little unusual that Barack Obama is asking for money? Yes, but in the context of Covid relief, maybe not so much. Now with Bill Gates and some of the others, it seemed a little more out of character. But you think of your typical email scam, and this is more plausible than that."

Fried continued: "Now again, it does say you should be aware, you should think twice, you should never donate money indirectly, you should always go to the charity you think you are going to."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, Twitter, Technology

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]