Billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Barack Obama are among many prominent US figures targeted by hackers on Twitter accounts in an apparent Bitcoin scam.
The official Twitter accounts of Joe Biden and Kanye West also requested donations in the cryptocurrency.
“Everyone is asking me to give back,” a tweet from Bill Gates’ account said. “You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”
“Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened,” tweeted CEO Jack Dorsey.
“We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened,” said Dorsey.
Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened.
We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened.
💙 to our teammates working hard to make this right.
— jack (@jack) July 16, 2020
The Biden campaign told that Twitter locked down the hacked account quickly and removed the bogus tweet.
Twitter disabled the ability to tweet from validated accounts, those with the official blue checkmarks, for about two hours while working on a fix.
“Most accounts should be able to Tweet again,” the Twitter support team said.
“As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”
The duplicitous posts were fired off from the array of high-profile accounts telling people they had 30 minutes to send $1,000 in bitcoin in order to be sent back twice as much.
“This is a SCAM, DO NOT participate!” Gemini cryptocurrency exchange co-founder Cameron Winklevoss warned from his official account on Twitter.
“This is the same attack/takeover that other major crypto twitter accounts are experiencing. Be vigilant!”
This is a SCAM, DO NOT participate! This is the same attack/takeover that other major crypto twitter accounts are experiencing. Be vigilant! Situation is ongoing.https://t.co/2k9U3PpnKm
— Cameron Winklevoss (@winklevoss) July 15, 2020
According to media reports, BitTorrent chief executive Justin Sun is offering a $1 million reward for finding the Twitter hackers and bringing them to justice.
The site Blockchain.com said a total of 12.58 bitcoins, worth almost $116,000, had been sent to the email addresses mentioned in the fraudulent tweets.
With over 83 million followers, the account of US President Donald Trump was not among those hacked.
Earlier, Twitter took the extraordinary step of stopping many verified accounts marked with blue ticks from tweeting altogether.
Password reset requests were also being denied and some other “account functions” disabled.
In March 2017, the accounts of Amnesty International, the French economics ministry and the BBC’s North America service were broken into by hackers.