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Angela Lang/CNET

The Twitter accounts of 130 users were targeted as part of a bitcoin scam, the social media company said on Thursday, wherein attackers took over the accounts of prominent users including Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos as part of a widespread hack

“For a small subset of these accounts, the attackers were able to gain control of the accounts and then send Tweets from those accounts,” wrote the Twitter Support account, without specifying how many accounts the attackers were able to control.

Although Twitter has faced the problem of cryptocurrency scams in the past, the size of Wednesday’s attack is unusual, casting a spotlight on the potential security vulnerabilities of the popular social media platform.

Twitter declined a request for a full list of the targeted accounts in light of its ongoing investigation, where it’s “continuing to asses whether non public data related to these accounts was compromise.”

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This is the scam tweet sent from Bill Gates’ account. (The Bitcoin address has been removed from this screenshot.)


Screenshot by Ian Sherr/CNET

On Wednesday, the accounts of dozens of internationally famous figures that spanned tech, politics, and entertainment posted similar tweets soliciting donations via Bitcoin. Apple, Uber and other businesses were also caught up in the sprawling hack, which Twitter later attributed to a social engineering attack on its employees. 

“Everyone is asking we to give back, and now is the time,” a now-deleted tweet from Gates’ said, pledging to double all payments to a Bitcoin address for the next 30 minutes

“I’m feeling generous because of Covid-19,” Musk’s tweet said “I’ll double any BTC payment sent to my BTC address for the next hour. Good luck, and stay safe out there!”  All the tweets were subsequently deleted, and verified Twitter accounts, those with a blue check, were temporarily silenced.

In addition to Twitter, the FBI also announced the launch of probe into the hacking incident.

source: cnet.com

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