Twitter pulls plug on many accounts to fix hacking of big names

Bitcoin scam snags accounts of Obama, Biden, Gates, Musk and companies
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(Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (WKBT) — You’re not alone if you’re trying to tweet and can’t — unidentified hackers found bigger fish than you to fry in a bitcoin scam, according to Twitter.
In what one digital media website decried as a “historic digital crisis,” the hackers broke into the Twitter accounts of technology moguls, politicians, celebrities and major companies Wednesday in an apparent Bitcoin scam.
The ruse included bogus tweets from Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and several tech billionaires, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Cryptocurrency scam links also went out from Apple, Uber and other companies.
A tweet from Gates’ account said, “Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time.
“I am doubling all payments sent to my BTC address for the next 30 minutes. You send $1,000. I send you back $2,000.”
Similarly, a now-deleted tweet from Musk’s account said, “I’m feeling generous because of Covid-19. I’ll double any BTC payment set to my BTC address for the next hour. Good luck, and stay safe out there!”
Similar promises of financial windfalls came from Obama’s and Biden’s accounts.
Twitter support tweeted two messages that weren’t hacks Wednesday afternoon and evening:

  • “We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly.”
  • “You may be unable to Tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident.”

A writer for the digital media website Mashable was especially chagrined, observing, “While the hackers appear to be after bitcoin, the fact that this appears to be a sitewide — and ongoing — incident is a huge cause for concern beyond the bitcoin theft. Considering that President Trump uses Twitter to announce national policy, the thought of a compromised Trump account is terrifying.”
Although shutting down tweets from some verified accounts might have seemed like an extreme measure to prevent further damage, Mashable noted, “It’s also left the celebrities, journalists, comedians, and generally verbal people of the world with a lot of pent up quips amid a historic digital crisis.”