Those who looked at Twitter earlier today may have noticed some very unusual tweets from accounts that have a blue checkmark. TechCrunch reported that these high-profile accounts were simultaneously hacked and used to spread a cryptocurrency scam.
According to TechCrunch, the hackers started by targeting cryptocurrency focused accounts like @bitcoin, @ripple, @coindesk, @coinbase, and @binance. It is possible that those who follow those accounts might not understand that this was a scam.
The first hacked tweet I saw was from the Joe Biden verified account. Someone took a screenshot of what appeared to be Joe Biden tweeting “I am giving back to the community. All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled! If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000. Only doing this for 30 minutes”. The tweet included a bitcoin address. (The screenshot was posted on social media that was not Twitter.)
I was immediately suspicious. Joe Biden doesn’t seem to me to be the kind of person who would tweet about Bitcoin. And now, we know that it certainly wasn’t him who posted that tweet.
Apple’s verified Twitter account also had a post about doubling the cryptocurrency sent to it. This, too, is extremely suspicions. Apple has never posted a tweet. Why would anyone believe that the first tweet Apple chose to post was about doubling your cryptocurrency? People who saw these tweets should have realized that something was wrong.
That said, some of the verified accounts that got hacked were ones that might sound convincing. For example, Elon Musk’s Twitter account was hacked. He has been known to post unexpected things on Twitter (such as his opinion on the stock price of Tesla). Kanye West, who recently decided to run for president, also seems like someone who just might decide to double people’s cryptocurrency on a whim.
The @Wendy’s account also got hacked. Would Wendy’s decide to “give back” to the community with cryptocurrency? Considering how snarky the Wendy’s account tends to be, some people might think the tweet was real.
This takeaway from this situation is that you should not believe everything you see on social media. It also makes it abundantly clear that social media is not as secure as you might think (or hope) it is.