Twitter Hacked: What does this mean for Cryptocurrency?

By Khyati Simran Nandrajog on The CapitalOn Wednesday, several Twitter accounts belonging to personalities such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, and Kim Kardashian West, were hacked. These accounts were then used to lure people into sending money to a Bitcoin address with the promise of doubling the amount. While the message has been taken down, how it will affect cryptocurrency, remains to be seen.The Scandal: How it Unfolded15th July 2020 was a tough day for Twitter, as the microblogging platform experienced one of its largest hacking scandals in recent times. The accounts of big names such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West, as well as tech giants like Apple and Uber, were all hacked into, prompting Twitter to lock them.Once these handles were hacked, a Bitcoin scam was executed, requesting other Twitter users to transfer money to a Bitcoin wallet with the assurance of doubling the amount in return. For instance, the tweet posted by Elon Musk’s handle stated, ‘All bitcoins sent to my address below will be sent back double the amount. If you send $1000, I will send back $2000.’ Similarly, Bill Gates’ account mentioned ‘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 $1000, I send you back $2000.’The scam happened in two phases. When the first tweets sent out from the accounts of Bill Gates and Elon Musk were removed, the scandal only got more prominent, resulting in hackers siphoning off with almost $118,211.37, or 12.86252562 BTC.What Happened Next?Twitter has termed the scandal as a ‘coordinated social engineering attack’, and has restricted almost 359,000 accounts at the moment. However, specific reports have confirmed that a hacker managed to gain access to a Twitter admin tool and successfully targeted some of its employees, leading to the hijacking of verified accounts. However, it is still uncertain whether it was the doing of a hacker or an employee of Twitter itself.What does this mean for Cryptocurrency?Certain cryptocurrency websites also fell prey to the scam, as platforms like Coinbase and Gemini falsely announced that they had partnered with an organisation called CryptoForHealth, through their Twitter handle and that it was going to provide people with Bitcoins, provided they sent some money to a particular address.While, the site tracking the amount siphoned, stated that most of the money had been recovered, Bitcoin scandals are not something unheard of. The ‘double your Bitcoin’ scams have been circulating on Twitter for quite a while; however, an embarrassment of this scale was unprecedented.Though this hacking scandal has pointed out the flaws in Twitter’s platform in terms of security, it may impact the prospects of cryptocurrency. Often, in such scams, cybercriminals are known to add money to their Bitcoin wallets, making the scam appear more genuine. Hence, it is quite challenging to understand the legitimacy of such schemes. Additionally, with cryptocurrencies being perceived as a lucrative investment, they have become the target of cyberattacks lately. While Blockchain, the technology powering cryptocurrencies, has end-to-end encryption that makes transactions highly secure, a lot more should be done to prevent such scams in the future. Hacked: What does this mean for Cryptocurrency? was originally published in The Capital on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Author: Khyati Simran Nandrajog

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