tech

Twitter hack: Bitcoin scamsters made about 90 lakh in just two hours

The hack saw fake tweets sent out from these verified accounts offering $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address. In just two hours, $1,20,000 had been transferred. 

While Twitter pulled these fake tweets down as soon as they detected the hack, some people had already fallen prey to the scam and had transferred money.
While Twitter pulled these fake tweets down as soon as they detected the hack, some people had already fallen prey to the scam and had transferred money. (Pixabay)

The Twitter hack that happened last night and left almost all of Twitter’s verified accounts crippled through the day saw at least 367 users fall prey to the fake tweets. The massive hack was in the form of a bitcoin scam and hit verified accounts including accounts belonging to Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates etc.

The hack saw fake tweets sent out from these verified accounts offering $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.

While Twitter pulled these fake tweets down as soon as they detected the hack, some people had already fallen prey to the scam and had transferred money.

According to Dmitry Bestuzhev, cybersecurity expert at Kaspersky, within just two hours at least 367 users transferred $1,20,000 ( 90 lakhs approx) in total to the hackers.

“This major scam flags the fact that we are living in the era when even people with computer skills might be lured into a scammers trap, and even the most secure accounts can be hacked. To our estimates, within just two hours at least 367 users have transferred around 120,000 dollars in total to attackers,” Bestuzhev said.

He added that no while all platforms and services out there prioritise security , no website or software is immune to bugs and hacks - any native platform can be compromised.

“This incident might mean we all need to take some time to reassess our approach to our relationships with social media and accounts security, but once we do it, it will become evident that we possess knowledge and instruments to recognize even the most elaborate scam and minimize its impact,” Bestuzhev added.

To effectively recognise a scam, Bestuzhev suggests that we look out for certain things like - time limits. The most important element of any scam is the time limit and that prevents the victim from being able to conduct a thorough check and also puts psychological pressure on them making it easier for them to skip details. Most people fall for scams since they are afraid to miss out on a great opportunity - like getting double the money back in this case.

For this Twitter hack, the scam has also been thoroughly tailored to the personality of the owner or the tone of voice of the hacked account, which made it seem legitimate. Kaspersky adds that criminals might even go further and illustrate the scam with an authentically looking design or use Deepfakes.

One must always keep in mind that official campaigns or even individual initiatives of such scale always have prescriptive documents to support even the briefest promo offer, and are placed outside of social media. In addition, the financial part is usually more transparent and not tied to private bitcoin wallets.

Users ought to remember that it is highly unlikely that any official enterprise or established individual will ask you to transfer money, even to return them later, even as a joke, due to possible issues with taxes and financial reporting.