A series of high-profile Twitter accounts were hijacked on Wednesday, with some of the platform’s top voices – including U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality television show star Kim Kardashian, former U.S. President Barack Obama, billionaire Elon Musk, and rapper Kanye West, among many others – used to solicit digital currency.
The cause of the breach was not immediately clear, but the unusual scope of the problem suggested that it was not limited to a single account or service. While account compromises are not unusual, experts were surprised at the sheer scale and coordination of the Wednesday’s incident.
“This appears to be the worst hack of a major social media platform yet,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, who co-founded cybersecurity company CrowdStrike.
Twitter said it was investigating what it called a “security incident” and would be issuing a statement shortly. Shares in the social media company tumbled almost 5 percent in trading after the market close before paring their losses.
Some of the tweets were swiftly deleted but there appeared to be a struggle to regain control of several of the accounts. In the case of billionaire Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, for example, one tweet soliciting cryptocurrency was removed and, sometime later, another one appeared, and then a third.
Among the others affected: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and the corporate accounts for Uber and Apple. Several accounts of cryptocurrency-focused organizations were also hijacked.
Biden‘s campaign was “in touch” with Twitter, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person said the company had locked down the Democrat’s account “immediately following the breach and removed the related tweet.” Tesla and other affected companies were not immediately available for comment.
Publicly available blockchain records show that the apparent scammers have already received more than $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency.
Alperovitch, who now chairs the Silverado Policy Accelerator, said that, in a way, the public had dodged a bullet so far.
“We are lucky that given the power of sending out tweets from the accounts of many famous people, the only thing that the hackers have done is scammed about $110,000 in bitcoins from about 300 people,” he said.
GOPer threatens to quit party on live TV over QAnon Republicans ‘who think Lord of the Rings is a documentary’
Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) on Sunday slammed members of his own party who believe in conspiracy theories pushed by QAnon.
During an interview on Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd asked Riggleman about "this wacky QAnon conspiracy that has led to some violent actions."
Todd noted that Republican Party had officially endorsed and funded QAnon follower Marjorie Taylor Greene for Congress.
"I might as well just piss everybody off," Riggleman replied. "I think if we're doing this, if we're looking at misinformation to pander to a subset of voters, I think we've lost our way."
CNN’s Tapper fires back at White House’s Meadows for personal attack about mask-wearing
During a long and very contentious interview with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, CNN "State of the Union" host Jake Tapper snapped back at Donald Trump's righthand man for trying to mock him for not wearing a mask during the interview where Meadows was not in the studio.
After grilling Meadows for agreeing to designate Vice President Mike Pence as an "essential worker" so he can continue to campaign for Donald Trump after his office became a COVID-19 hotspot, the CNN host pressed Meadows why the president continues to refuse to wear a mask and doesn't demand it of his rallygoers.
Chris Wallace battles GOP chairwoman over laptop smear: ‘Do you have any proof Joe Biden took one penny?’
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on Sunday refused to say if she had any proof of allegations of corruption against Democratic nominee Joe Biden's son Hunter.
Fox News host Chris Wallace grilled McDaniel about the Trump campaign's smear against the Biden family on Fox News Sunday.
"Do you have any proof -- because he's denied it -- do you have any proof that Joe Biden every took one penny from either a foreign country or a foreign company?" Wallace asked.
"I think that's incumbent upon the press to start investigating," McDaniel replied. "I think what's frightening is we should have a free and fair press that should be looking at a laptop that has not been disputed by the Biden campaign to be authentic. These emails are deeply troubling as it looks like Hunter Biden is negotiating with a Chinese energy company to profit, not just for himself, but for his father."