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Elon Musk, Joe Biden and Bill Gates’ Twitter accounts have all been compromised by cryptocurrency scammers. The hacked accounts have promised followers “double” payments if they invest into a bitcoin link. The cyber-scams have raised fresh concerns from experts and officials over the security of social media apps.
Mr Gates, founder of Microsoft, posted a link to a scammers bitcoin account onto his twitter.
It said: “Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time.”
He then promised to double all payments to a Bitcoin address for the next 30 minutes.
A similar post was spotted on SpaceX founder Mr Musk’s Twitter.
He said: “I’m feeling generous because of COVID-19.
“I’ll double any BTC payment sent to my BTC address for the next hour.
“Good luck, and stay safe out there!”
That post was deleted, and then followed with another that said: “Feeling greatful, doubling app payments to my BTC address!
“You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”
The scammers have already stolen over $100,000 from users, according to publicly available blockchain records.
In response to the scam posts, Twitter took the extraordinary step of not allowing accounts to post on the app.
The social media giant did not offer clarification for the measures, and told users that they “may be unable to tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident.”
Shares in the social media company fell almost 5 percent in trading after the market close.
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Dmitri Alperovitch, who co-founded cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, said the Twitter cyber-scam was unprecedented.
He said: “This appears to be the worst hack of a major social media platform yet.”
Oren Falkowitz, former CEO of Area 1 Security, added that the company needs to improve it’s security.
Mr Falkowitz said: “It’s clear the company is not doing enough to protect itself.
“We are lucky that given the power of sending out tweets from the accounts of many famous people, the only thing that the hackers have done is scammed about $110,000 in bitcoins from about 300 people.”
In a tweet on Wednesday, Twitter’s support account said: “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.”
The cause of the Twitter hack was not immediately clear.
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