Scammers targeted celebrity twitter accounts to trick thousands of followers into giving them money through bitcoin.

What Happened

On Wednesday July 15th, Twitter experienced an extreme breach of security when hackers took control of famous twitter accounts with millions of followers in order to persuade those followers to send money to an included link. The message that was tweeted claimed that the user was going to double any amount of bitcoin that was sent their way, ultimately causing the hackers to gain around $100,000. The bitcoin was transferred into the hacker’s wallets then quickly emptied.

The hackers were able to gain access to administrative tools within Twitter that allowed them to change the e-mail address connected with an account, giving them the ability to take over any account. This large-scale attack has raised concerns regarding the security practices being utilized at Twitter.

Some of the accounts used include Kanye West, Barack Obama, and Elon Musk. Because these are some of the most influential celebrities in the country right now, people are wondering if the accounts were actually taken over in order to steal personal data and private direct messages which could be sold over the dark web. As an attempt to get a handle on the situation, Twitter restricted verified users from tweeting or changing their passwords for a brief amount of time.

What is Being Done

The main Twitter Support account released a few tweets stating they believe this attack to be a “coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.” Whether or not the actual purpose of this scam was to steal private information is unknown as of now. The FBI is launching an investigation to try to locate where the money has gone and who stole it, but bitcoin is very difficult to trace. This situation proves why employees need to be educated on sophisticated social engineering tactics and how to avoid them.

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