Obama, Biden and Musk hacked on Twitter in attempt to scam millions of followers
TORONTO -- A sophisticated cyberattack on Wednesday hacked some of Twitter's most followed accounts in an attempt to scam millions of followers who clicked a dubious link asking for money.
The widespread hack, which appears to be coordinated, somehow gained access to the verified Twitter accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West.
Companies were also targeted, including tech giant Apple and multiple cryptocurrency sources, including Binance, Ripple and Gemini.
Collectively, more than 320 million users follow the accounts.
Messages posted to the hacked profiles Wednesday afternoon invited users to send bitcoins to a long, anonymized link and said the money would be doubled and returned to the sender.
“I am giving back to the community,” read a message posted on Biden’s account, which has since been deleted. “All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled! If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000. Only doing this for 30 minutes.”
A similarly worded message was posted to the Twitter account belonging to Obama, who has the most followers on the platform at 120 million.
In some cases, the tweets garnered thousands of retweets and were widely shared. It’s unclear how many followers fell for the scam or how the hackers accessed the accounts.
Twitter said it is investigating the security incident and that users may be unable to send tweets or reset their passwords while the incident is being addressed.
Many verified users — public figures and organizations that Twitter deems “in the public interest” — reported being unable to post tweets for a period of time Wednesday afternoon.
Twitter users have been hacked before, but this hack appears to be one of the largest in the history of the social media platform. Last August, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey had his account hacked, with racist tweets posted from his profile.
Dorsey addressed the situation in a tweet Wednesday evening.
“Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened,” he wrote.
“We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened."