Twitter founder Jack Dorsey tells of 'tough day' after major hack by Bitcoin scammers

15 July 2020, 23:05

Twitter confirmed it is aware of the security incident
Twitter confirmed it is aware of the security incident. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The founder of Twitter said the firm had a "tough day" after the accounts of leading world figures and companies were hacked by Bitcoin scammers.

Founder Jack Dorsey said: "Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened."

Prominent figures and companies around the world - including Kanye West, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Apple had their accounts hacked last night.

Other names that were targeted in the cryptocurrency scam include Elon Musk, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Uber, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

The accounts, all of which have large Twitter followings, were simultaneously hacked on Wednesday evening with a message posted on each, encouraging users to send $1,000 (£794) to a Bitcoin address.

In return, users were promised that their money will be doubled and returned to them.

The fraudulent message read: "I am giving back to my community due to Covid-19! All Bitcoin sent to my address below will be sent back doubled.

"If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000!

"Only doing this for the next 30 minutes! Enjoy."

In response to the hack, Twitter temporarily prevented all verified accounts with blue ticks from uploading tweets as it carried out an investigation.

Barack Obama's Twitter account was among those impacted by the scam
Barack Obama's Twitter account was among those impacted by the scam. Picture: PA

As the incident unfolded, Twitter said it was aware of a "security incident" impacting accounts and was "taking steps to fix it."

The social media giant wrote in a series of tweets: "We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly.

"You may be unable to Tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident."

US Senator Josh Hawley has reportedly written to Twitter's Jack Dorsey about the Twitter hack, saying: "I am concerned that this event may represent not merely a coordinated set of separate hacking incidents but rather a successful attack on the security of Twitter itself."

A later tweet by the Twitter's Support account read: "We’re continuing to limit the ability to Tweet, reset your password, and some other account functionalities while we look into this.

"Thanks for your patience."

By 1:41am, the social media giant appeared to have resolved the issue as tweets from verified accounts flooded on to people's home pages.

Over $110,000 was reportedly sent to Bitcoin scammers as part of the hack.

Targeted accounts included Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos.

Kanye West's account was hacked twice in the space of an hour with the same message posted.

A number of company accounts, including that of Apple and Uber, were also hacked with the message posted.

Most of the tweets were deleted within a number of minutes, but many had been retweeted thousands of times.

The hackers seemed to have been able to side-step Twitter's two-factor authentication process for verified accounts.

Kanye West's Twitter account was one of those targeted on Wednesday
Kanye West's Twitter account was one of those targeted on Wednesday. Picture: PA

The hacked messages were posted after several high-profile cryptocurrency companies' Twitter accounts shared malicious links earlier on Wednesday.

Tyler Winklevoss, who founded cryptocurrency company Gemini alongside brother Cameron, tweeted earlier today: "WARNING: @Gemini's twitter account, along with a number of other crypto twitter accounts, has been hacked. This has resulted in @Gemini, @Coinbase, @Binance, and @Coindesk, tweeting about a scam partnership with CryptoForHealth. DO NOT CLICK THE LINK! These tweets are SCAMS."


"2FA / strong password was used for @Gemini account. We are investigating and hope to have more information shortly."

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Thierry Mugler acknowledges applause following his 2001-2002 ready-to-wear collection presentation in Paris on March 12 2001 (Remy de la Mauviniere/AP)

French fashion designer Manfred Thierry Mugler dies aged 73

Cleo Smith

Australian man admits to abducting four-year-old girl from family tent

The families of all American personnel at the US Embassy in Ukraine have been ordered to leave

US orders families of Ukraine embassy staff to leave, amid fears of Russian invasion

The protest in Brussels turned violent.

Riot police fire water cannons and tear gas amid mass Covid protests in Brussels

Ukraine Russia

US draws down Ukraine embassy presence as war fears mount

Cameroon Fire

17 dead in nightclub fire in Cameroon’s capital

Virus Outbreak Russia

Russia sets another daily virus record amid Omicron surge

Norway Afghanistan Taliban

Taliban begin talks in Norway as hunger stalks Afghanistan

Obit-Don Wilson

Don Wilson, guitarist with The Ventures, dies at 88

Virus Outbreak Belgium

Water cannon and tear gas used at Covid-19 protests in Brussels

Italy Politics Berlusconi

Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi being treated in hospital

Spain Rural Protest

Farmers join opposition parties to protest about Spain’s rural policies

CORRECTION Israel Netanyahu

Israel launches state investigation into purchase of German submarines

Michael Avenatti Stormy Daniels

Stormy Daniels and former ally Michael Avenatti to face each other in court

France Mali Soldier Killed

French soldier dies in attack on anti-insurgent base in Mali

Turkey Journalist

Turkish journalist jailed after reciting proverb on TV