Twitter hack hits Obama, Biden, Musk in Bitcoin scam; stock sinks

Topics Twitter | Hacking | Barack Obama

As the hack unfolded, verified accounts suddenly lost the ability to post new tweets
The Twitter accounts of some of the most prominent US political and business leaders, from Barack Obama and Joe Biden to Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett, were hacked on Wednesday in an apparent effort to promote a Bitcoin scam.

Others whose Twitter accounts were caught up in the security incident included Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Uber Technologies Inc, Apple, and Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg LP. The accounts sent out tweets promising to double the money of anyone sending funds via Bitcoin within 30 minutes.

As the hack unfolded, verified accounts suddenly lost the ability to post new tweets. “You may be unable to tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident,” Twitter wrote. Its shares fell 6 per cent in pre-market trading in New York on Thursday. The stock was down over 3 per cent in intraday trade.

Within hours, Twitter said access had been restored for most accounts and later added what it knew from its investigation so far. The firm said the hack had targeted employees with access to internal systems and tools, which were then used to take control of high-profile accounts. So far, the Bitcoin address tweeted by the hackers has been sent over 12 Bitcoins, worth over $110,000. Bitcoin exchange, Coinbase, has blocked users from sending money to the address.

Some of the accounts that were targeted said they used two-factor authentication and strong passwords. The tweets indicate they were posted using Twitter’s web application, sparking theories online that the hack may be internal to Twitter, or a service used to manage accounts.

The breach prompted a swift response from lawmakers.  US Senator Josh Hawley asked  that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey immediately reach out to the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Exactly what happened, however, remains unclear.

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