Social media

Twitter attack: Obama, Biden, Apple and Elon Musk accounts hacked

The social media platform temporarily shut down verified accounts after some of the world's richest men were targeted by hackers in Covid-19 bitcoin scam.

Twitter attack: Obama, Biden, Apple and Elon Musk accounts hacked
LUDOVIC MARIN OLIVIER DOULIERY BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI MANDEL NGAN AFP

Several high-profile global political and business figures including former US President Barack Obama, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Kanye West and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have been targeted in an unprecented Twitter hack orchestrated by as yet unidentified sources to promote a bitcoin scam using the accounts of some of the world’s richest men.

The hack took place around 22:00 CEST and Twitter confirmed the incident shortly afterwards. “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 social media platform stated.

Twitter suspends accounts in unprecedented security breach

A raft of verified accounts on the social media were all temporarily suspended in what is believed to be a first for Twitter. The scammers first targeted Musk and Gates with a tweet sent from the account of the Tesla CEO promising to double all $1,000 bitcoin payments send to a specific bitcoin wallet address posted underneath.

“I‘m feeling generous because of Covid-19. I’ll double any BTC payment sent to my BTC address for the next hour. Good luck, and stay safe out there!” the message from Musk’s account read before being swiftly deleted.

A spokesman for Gates also denied he had posted any such message and stated it was “part of a larger issue Twitter are facing.”

"A serious hack" 

It later transpired that payments had in fact been made to the bitcoin wallet address attached to the fake tweets.

Although cryptocurrency scams on social media are a fairly commonplace event and it lasted for just a few minutes, the scale of this particular hack will have Twitter frantically backpedalling to discover how its security measures were breached in a such a high-profile manner.