SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon MuskPicture copyright
Reuters

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Elon Musk’s account was amongst these requesting Bitcoin donations

Billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Invoice Gates are amongst a number of public figures focused by hackers on Twitter in an obvious Bitcoin rip-off.

The official accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Kanye West additionally requested donations within the cryptocurrency.

“Everyone seems to be asking me to present again, and now could be the time,” a tweet from Mr Gates’s account stated. “You ship $1,000, I ship you again $2,000.”

The tweets have been deleted simply minutes after they first have been posted.

All verified Twitter accounts marked with a blue tick have now been stopped from posting any tweets, and there are studies that password reset requests are additionally being denied.

Twitter stated it was trying into the incident and would subject a press release quickly.

On the official account of Mr Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX chief appeared to supply to double any Bitcoin fee despatched to the deal with of his digital pockets “for the following hour”.

“I am feeling beneficiant due to Covid-19,” the tweet added, together with a Bitcoin hyperlink deal with.

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In addition to rapper Kanye West, former US President Obama and Mr Biden, who’s the present Democratic presidential candidate, main corporations Uber and Apple have been focused.

The accounts of Mike Bloomberg and Kim Kardashian have been additionally hacked.

An unprecedented ‘smash and seize’

By Joe Tidy, Cyber-security reporter

These “double your Bitcoin” scams have been a persistent pest on Twitter for years however that is unprecedented with the precise accounts of public figures hijacked and on a big scale.

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The truth that so many various customers have been compromised on the identical time implies that it is a drawback with Twitter’s platform itself.

Early solutions are that somebody has managed to pay money for some form of administration privileges and bypassed the passwords of just about any account they need.

With a lot energy at their fingertips the attackers may have accomplished much more harm with extra refined tweets that would have harmed a person or organisation’s status.

However the motive appears to be clear – make as a lot cash as rapidly as they’ll. The hackers would have recognized that the tweets would not look ahead to lengthy so this was the equal of a “smash and seize” operation.

There are conflicting accounts of how a lot cash the hackers have made and even when a determine is settled upon, it is essential to keep in mind that cyber-criminals are recognized so as to add their very own funds into their Bitcoin wallets to make the rip-off appear extra respectable.

Both approach, it may be very onerous to catch the criminals by following the cash. Regulation enforcement, in addition to many offended customers, can have some robust questions for Twitter about how this might have occurred.

Cameron Winklevoss, who was declared the world’s first Bitcoin billionaires in 2017 alongside together with his twin brother Tyler, tweeted a message on Wednesday warning people to not take part within the “rip-off”.

Within the quick time it was on-line, the deal with displayed within the tweets obtained a whole bunch of contributions totalling greater than $100,000 (£80,000).

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The Twitter accounts focused all have tens of millions of followers.