From: RegTech Analyst
After several high-profile Twitter accounts were compromised in a bitcoin scam, crypto traders worry that it will put the industry in a bad light.
Elon Musk, Kim Kardashian, Barack Obama and Jeff Bezos were among the many high-profile Twitter accounts that were used in a hack attack that was part of a big bitcoin scam on Wednesday.
The affected accounts posted near-identical messages saying that they would send back the double amount in bitcoin sent to their accounts. In the end, the scammers got away with about $120,000.
To fight back against the incident, Twitter suspended some accounts and disabled all verified accounts from tweeting. It also removed the tweets.
In a statement, Twitter later said that the social media platform had suffered “a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”
The hackers then used this access to take control of the verified accounts and tweet on their behalf.
“We’re looking into what other malicious activity they may have conducted or information they may have accessed and will share more here as we have it,” Twitter said.
In regards to reducing access to the site for some accounts, Twitter acknowledged that it “was disruptive, but it was an important step to reduce risk.”
“We have locked accounts that were compromised and will restore access to the original account owner only when we are certain we can do so securely,” Twitter said.
“Internally, we’ve taken significant steps to limit access to internal systems and tools while our investigation is ongoing. More updates to come as our investigation continues.”
Now, cryptocurrency stakeholders lament that bitcoin will continue to be associated with criminality as the Twitter hack will add to reports about cryptocurrencies being used to launder money or, as in the infamous OneCoin case, form the centre of elaborate multi-million scams.
One of the people concerned about bitcoin’s reputation is Danny Scott, CEO at bitcoin trading platform CoinCorner.
“It’s a shame that people are now associating bitcoin with this Twitter hack as bitcoin itself has never been hacked and wasn’t the problem in this scenario,” he said. “The problem was a centralised service, Twitter, which I feel helps emphasise the benefits of bitcoin’s decentralised nature and how an attack like this could not occur on bitcoin.
“It’s also highly unlikely the hacker did this for monetary gain. Contrary to what many people still believe, bitcoin isn’t anonymous and all eyes around the world will now be on these bitcoin addresses, and can track where it moves via Bitcoin’s public blockchain.”
Trying to put a positive spin on the incident Scott argued that the hack demonstrated “the power of bitcoin and that anyone can send something of value like bitcoin to anyone else in the world within seconds.”
The Twitter hack also highlights the ubiquity of social engineering hacks. A recent report from cybersecurity company Trustwave noted that over half of the breaches and incidents investigated in 2019 were social engineering reports.
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