In a response to an attack by hackers promoting a blockchain scam, Twitter has blocked several known and verified accounts from tweeting. These include major key individuals and celebrities such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and even Kanye West.
Starting around 1pm PDT (4am local time), these accounts began tweeting bogus Bitcoin offers which resulted in a good number of their followers actually falling for the scam. According to The Verge, the breach was first noticed when Tesla CEO Elon Musk – a longtime target of blockchain related scammers on Twitter – started posting these offers. Shortly after, a similar message was noticed from the other aforementioned accounts and even major brands including Apple and Uber.
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
The tweets are generally formatted to include a greeting or a gesture of generosity, followed by the offer to double any given Bitcoin deposit and link to a BTC address. Musk’s compromised account tweeted, “Feeling grateful doubling all payments sent to my BTC address! You send $1,000, I send back $2,000! Only doing this for the next 30 minutes.” These tweets have been deleted by the platform, but were archived by reporters from various agencies.
According to various sources, it appears that the attackers had managed to fool unsuspecting followers of these individuals and brands to make a hefty profit. On Blockchain Explorer, the BTC address involved in the breach has been listed to have logged over 350 transactions with a net gain of over USD118,000 at the time of writing.
“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,” the platform tweeted via its Support account. Twitter then blocked all of the affected accounts from tweeting around 6am local time in order to address the issue. It’s worth noting that this is the first time ever that the platform has done such unprecedented measure in its history.
Most accounts should be able to Tweet again. As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We're working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 16, 2020
Just about 9:30am earlier, the support account reported that most accounts are now able to tweet again. Twitter said that more work is still being done in order to get things back to normal, and added that it is still currently looking into the problem. The culprit behind this massive breach has not been identified.