Updated Jul 16, 2020 - Technology

Bitcoin scam hacks Twitter accounts of Obama, Biden, Bill Gates and others

Illustration of twitter logo wrapped in caution tape
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A number of prominent Twitter accounts, including those of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Elon Musk, appear to have been compromised Wednesday, posting messages tied to a cryptocurrency scam.

The latest: Twitter temporarily disabled all verified accounts from tweeting for several accounts. At about 8:45 pm ET, Twitter said in a statement: "Most accounts should be able to Tweet again. As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We're working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible."

Why it matters: Twitter has become a key source of communication, and people generally assume the content posted by an account is from the person who owns the account, increasing the likelihood of a scam being successful.

  • One bitcoin wallet linked to the scam appears to have received the equivalent of over $100,000, according to CNBC.

Details: The accounts of Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg and Kanye West, as well as companies Apple, Bitcoin.org, Coinbase and Ripple, were similarly compromised, in addition to several others.

  • Late Wednesday, Twitter posted: "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."
  • A Biden spokesperson said in a statement, "Twitter locked down the account immediately following the breach and removed the related tweet. We remain in touch with Twitter on the matter."
Screenshot of hacked Barack Obama Twitter account asking for Bitcoin
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