Social engineering and the participation of multiple hackers in a coordinated attack resulted in Bitcoins deposited into the accounts of fraudsters. The cybercrime incident occurred on Wednesday, and it featured a widespread takeover of Twitter accounts normally under the control of celebrities and billionaires.
In essence, a series of tweets posted on Wednesday afternoon were directed towards followers of celebrities such as rapper Kanye West and his wife, reality television queen Kim Kardashian; the tweets explained that the celebrities were in a celebratory mood and wanted to give "something back to their fans." All of the messages requested funds to be sent to a Bitcoin wallet. In some cases, the tweets were written in a way that suggested a donation drive that wealthy individuals would match before turning cash over to a charitable organization.
Three of the Twitter accounts impacted in this curious hack belong to individuals who are listed among the 10 wealthiest in the world: Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk. Information security experts believe that the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors was a natural target because of his love/hate relationship with the cryptocurrency market; moreover, his Twitter account has been previously compromised for the purpose of running digital currency scams.
The cyber heist may have netted the hackers millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin, and it may go down in history as the most damaging financial hack perpetrated on Twitter. Executives from the social network admitted that some of their employees were ensnared in a sophisticated social engineering attack; they were able to quickly determine what had happened, thus giving them time to react, take control of the hacked accounts, and eliminate the malicious tweets.
It took a few hours for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to make a public statement on this matter. Dorsey described Wednesday as a tough day, and he explained that corporate leaders felt terrible, particularly when they realized that the account of former United States Vice President Joe Biden was among those taken over by hackers. A few Twitter accounts operated by major brands such as Apple were also compromised, and all of their historical tweets were deleted.