2020 Twitter account hijacking

July 2020 compromise of multiple Twitter accounts to post scam tweets / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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On July 15, 2020, between 20:00 and 22:00 UTC, 130 high-profile Twitter accounts were reportedly compromised by outside parties to promote a bitcoin scam.[1][2] Twitter and other media sources confirmed that the perpetrators had gained access to Twitter's administrative tools so that they could alter the accounts themselves and post the tweets directly. They appeared to have used social engineering to gain access to the tools via Twitter employees.[3][4][5] Three individuals were arrested by authorities on July 31, 2020, and charged with wire fraud, money laundering, identity theft, and unauthorized computer access related to the scam.[6]

Quick facts: Date, Cause, Target, Outcome, Arrests...
2020 Twitter account hijacking
A tweet from Apple, which reads, "We are giving back to our community. We support Bitcoin and believe you should too! All Bitcoin sent to our addresses will be sent back to you, doubled!" After a bitcoin address, it reads "Only going on for the next 30 minutes."
A representative scam tweet, from Apple's hacked account
DateJuly 15, 2020, 20:00–22:00 UTC
CauseCoordinated social engineering attack
TargetHigh-profile verified Twitter accounts
OutcomeAt least 130 accounts affected. The bitcoin addresses involved received about US$110,000 in bitcoin transactions.
Arrests3, as of July 31, 2020

The scam tweets asked individuals to send bitcoin currency to a specific cryptocurrency wallet, promising the Twitter user that money sent would be doubled and returned as a charitable gesture.[7] Within minutes from the initial tweets, more than 320 transactions had already taken place on one of the wallet addresses, and bitcoins to a value of more than US$110,000 had been deposited in one account before the scam messages were removed by Twitter.[1][8] In addition, full message history data from eight non-verified accounts were also acquired.[9]

Dmitri Alperovitch, the co-founder of cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, described the incident as "the worst hack of a major social media platform yet."[2][10] Security researchers expressed concerns that the social engineering used to execute the hack could affect the use of social media in important online discussions, including the lead-up into the 2020 United States presidential election.[11][12] On July 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against three individuals in connection with the incident.[13]