The Great Bitcoin heist – Head for exit when Kim Kardashian, Kayne West promise to double your money  |  Photo Credit: IANS
- Twitter accounts of public figures such as US president hopeful Joe Biden, former US president Barack Obama, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos were also hacked
- Posting from hacked accounts, attackers lured Twitter followers of celebs into sending money to Bitcoin addresses
- Twitter moved swiftly to lock down the hacked accounts but hackers were able to pocket Rs 90 lakh in a matter of just two hours
New Delhi: “The safest way to double your money is keeping it in a wallet”– this great piece of internet wisdom, could have come handy for those 367 Twitter users who were duped of over Rs 90 lakh in just two hours on Thursday.
Those who have had the misfortune of being conned, tricked, made into buying something or parting with their money with fraudulent promises of obscene returns know a dirty trick when they see one.
However, hundreds out of millions of followers of global A-list celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West weren’t able to separate fact from malicious fiction when they saw tweets offering to double their money from their ‘true blue-ticked’ Twitter accounts.
The fake posts from these celebrities’ hacked accounts offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.
It was one of the worst cyberattacks in the history of social media when even accounts of former US President Barack Obama, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Tesla’s Elon Musk were compromised.
The attack left many at the micro-blogging website red-faced with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologising for the fiasco. Dozens of accounts worldwide were used to fire off fake posts used to solicit digital currency Bitcoin.
Modus operandi of heist
What do you do when a billionaire, philanthropist, innovator like Bill Gates asks for your contribution? Well, some might comply but it wasn’t the Microsoft co-founder on Thursday who offered to double his followers’ $1000 on Thursday.
A tweet from Gates’ hacked handle read, “Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time. I am doubling all payments sent to my BTC address for the next 30 minutes. You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.
Not that one should take Elon Musk’s tweets seriously, but the one in question not posted by the Tesla founder himself yesterday read, “All Bitcoins sent to my address below will be sent back double the amount. If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000.”
One hacked account after invited unsuspecting users to double their wealth. US law enforcement agency Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said it was aware of the attack but did not make a statement.
In a tweet, the San Francisco-based social media platform noted that it was aware of a security incident impacting accounts on its platform. It said it is investigating and promised an update shortly.
“Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened,” CEO Jack Dorsey posted after the accounts of major public figures including US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Apple and Uber were simultaneously hacked by attackers to spread a cryptocurrency scam.
It said that the affected accounts were immediately locked down and fraudulent tweets posted by attackers were taken down. It also blocked the affected users while it investigated the matter.
The whole incident shows is reminiscent of the promise and security which conventional banks offer while exposing risks still associated with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
A lesson for investors – If it’s too good to be true, its most probably isn’t.