Several prominent Twitter accounts, including those of former U.S. president Barack Obama, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, were hacked apparently to promote a Bitcoin scam in what the microblogging site believes to be a "coordinated social engineering attack". All of the accounts began tweeting out a scam that implored people to send bitcoin, promising they would be sent double the amount back.
Most of the tweets were deleted within a number of minutes, but many had been retweeted thousands of times.
Twitter support said it was investigating any malicious activity the hackers conducted "or information they may have accessed and will share more here as we have it". Representatives for Gates, Bezos, and Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment. "Only doing this for 30 minutes", tweeted from the @elonmusk and @billgates Twitter accounts, while being deleted shortly after.
In a sign of the seriousness of the problem, Twitter warned that many of its more than 166 million daily users might be unable to tweet or reset their passwords while the company addressed the security breach.
The official Twitter account of Apple has been hacked today in what seems to be a major hacking operation.
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Twitter says it has now locked accounts that got compromised.
A second source also reportedly said that a Twitter employee was paid for their assistance.
A statement provided by Gates said that the tweets appeared "to be part of a larger issue that Twitter is facing".
Twitter took cognizance of the hack nearly immediately and responded with - "We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter".
The fake messages that appeared on the accounts of other famous personalities made similar promises of instant riches.
Of course, this isn't the first time Musk became a target of Twitter-based bitcoin scammers.