The Twitter accounts of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama were compromised Wednesday afternoon by Bitcoin scammers amid a widescale attack on the social media platform.
“I am giving back to the community,” a now-deleted tweet posted on Biden’s account read.
“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. Enjoy!”
A nearly identical tweet was posted to Obama’s personal Twitter account Wednesday afternoon.
— Donie O’Sullivan (@donie) July 15, 2020
Similar tweets were posted to the accounts of Biden’s former Democratic rival, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg; Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos; Microsoft founder Bill Gates; rapper Kanye West; Tesla founder Elon Musk; Uber; and other major figures.
Serious, ongoing cyberattack on Twitter right now. pic.twitter.com/7O6f6qS9OR
— Ryan Calo (@rcalo) July 15, 2020
The social media giant seemed to stop verified accounts from tweeting Wednesday evening as it tried to slow the spread of the scam.
The Bitcoin address linked in the tweets has racked up at least $100,000, according to NBC News, which cited a public register of Bitcoin transactions.
Twitter called it a “coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”
We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 16, 2020
Rachel Tobac of the cybersecurity firm SocialProof Security told NBC News the attack was likely the largest Twitter had ever seen.
“I’m surprised Twitter hasn’t gone completely dark to prevent misinformation campaigns and political upheaval,” Tobac said in a text message. “We are lucky the attackers are going after bitcoin (money motivated) and not motivated by chaos and destruction.”
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