High profile tech and money tycoons, as well as a presidential candidate and a former president, were hacked Wednesday on Twitter in what appears to be one of the largest digital security scams to have hit the internet.
Bogus messages appeared on the Twitter accounts for Tesla’s Elon Musk, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, Berkshire Hathaway CEO and president Warren Buffett, former President Obama, presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden and the company accounts for Apple and Uber.
TechCrunch reported that a message asking for donations to a Bitcoin digital currency company appeared on the @Apple and @jeffbezos accounts, before getting pulled down.
“”We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter,” said Twitter in a statement. “We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly.”
The tweets began appearing on the platform around 4:30 p.m., first from notable accounts belonging Musk and Gates. Later, other high-profile accounts like Jeff Bezos and Mike Bloomberg tweeted fraudulent updates, too.
The tweets promised a “reward” for users if they sent Bitcoin to a specific cryptocurrency address – a scam commonly found online, but rarely successful in penetrating significant accounts. This time, however, the scheme secured more than $100,000 in less than an hour.
“I’m feeling generous because of Covid-19,” the fake tweet read on Musk’s account. “I’ll double any BTC payment sent to my BTC address for the next hour. Good luck, and stay safe out there!”
By providing a public address, millions of users who have access to cryptocurrency trading platforms can send as much Bitcoin – in this case, BTC – as they want. In total, the accounts tweeted out to nearly 100 million followers.
And some users apparently fell for it: thinking Musk, Gates, and others would double their contribution and send it back, more than 230 transactions were recorded in Bitcoin’s public ledger as of 5 p.m. In total, people had sent more than 11 BTC to the address, which is valued at $100,000.
As of Wednesday evening, one Bitcoin was worth $9,200.
On the Twitter.com website, the company hasn’t mentioned the hack yet in its own promotional @twitter feed.
This is a developing story.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bezos, Musk, Gates, Obama and others target of cryptocurrency hack on Twitter