- Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos appear to have had their Twitter accounts hacked as part of a colossal cryptocurrency scam.
- The tech moguls’ accounts began sending tweets Wednesday afternoon offering to double bitcoin payments sent to their addresses.
- Tech companies like Apple and Uber also appeared to have their accounts hacked. It is unclear who is behind the hack or how it happened.
- The hack appeared to have been active for multiple hours after it started, with hackers continually gaining control of Musk’s account. Twitter appeared to disable posting from verified accounts as it investigated the situation.
- “We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter,” the company wrote on Twitter. “We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos appeared to have been hacked as part of a widespread bitcoin-giveaway scam that took place over several hours on Wednesday afternoon.
Musk posted multiple tweets containing what the posts claimed to be his bitcoin address, saying he was “feeling generous because of COVID-19.” Gates’ account sent a nearly identical tweet minutes later, followed by a post on Bezos’ account.
Musk’s account followed up with another tweet saying, “You send $1,000, I send back $2,000!” The tweet added that would go on for the following 30 minutes.
Bezos’ account was compromised about 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, with the exec tweeting that he would pay only “a maximum of $50,000,000” in bitcoin giveaways.
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The billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s account was also hacked about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, tweeting similarly to Musk that he would “send back $2,000” if a user sent $1,000.
The tweets on all four accounts have each stayed up only a few minutes before being removed.
Musk’s, Gates’, Bezos’, and Buffett’s accounts aren’t the only ones that have been compromised. The hack appears to have targeted verified Twitter accounts, meaning a blue checkmark accompanies their profiles.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama were also victims of the hack.
Several high-profile financial-services and crypto-exchange accounts, such as Cash App, Ripple, Binance, and Coinbase, were affected on Wednesday as well. According to CoinDesk, the attackers hacked the account of Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s CEO, after he attempted to warn users of the scam. Several of the entities that were hacked, including CoinDesk, had multifactor authentication turned on, the site reported.
Accounts for tech companies like Apple and Uber also appeared to have been hacked as part of the same bitcoin scam. Those tweets have since been deleted.
A Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider the issue was “being looked into.” In a tweet, the company reiterated that it was working to fix the problem.
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.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 15, 2020
On Wednesday evening, Twitter said it had disabled some features, including tweeting, for some accounts while it investigated. Many verified accounts were unable to tweet during that time period.
Representatives for Bezos and Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but a Gates spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the tweet was not sent by Gates.
Musk is frequently the target of cryptocurrency scams, with scammers impersonating his account in an attempt to get followers to send them digital currency. He tweeted in February about the ongoing issue, saying, “The crypto scam level on Twitter is reaching new levels. This is not cool.”