Twitter bitcoin hack described: What are cryptocurrency rip-offs and how did website end up being sanctuary for them?

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Twitter bitcoin hack described: What are cryptocurrency rip-offs and how did website end up being sanctuary for them?

Twitter has suffered the “biggest security breach in its history”, according to one cyber criminal offense professional, however it is simply the most recent in a years-long project by bad guys to rip-off individuals on the platform through the ploy of bitcoin free gifts.

Amongst those targeted in Wednesday’s attack was billionaire business owner Elon Musk, who has actually regularly raised issues about the “alarming issue” of cryptocurrency rip-offs.

Usually, the rip-offs include phony accounts impersonating prominent Twitter users like Musk in order to hold free gifts. They ask for Twitter users send out cryptocurrency to a digital address in order to get a higher quantity in return.

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Once the cash is sent out, it is almost difficult for the victims to recuperate their funds due to the semi-anonymous nature of bitcoin making it challenging to trace the wrongdoers.

Analysis by The Independent in 2018 exposed numerous deals sent out to cryptocurrency fraudsters running on Twitter, leading to countless dollars worth of losses for victims.

Twitter stated at the time that it was punishing cryptocurrency rip-offs, declaring it had actually established brand-new tools to identify “spammy and harmful” activity.

However fraudsters continued to multiply on the platform, altering their username and profile images to match those of prominent accounts in order to deceive individuals.

The website’s guidelines mention that impersonating another person for the function of tricking its users is an infraction of its regards to service, and will lead to an account being suspended. Just suspending an account does not fix the issue, as it is a fairly fast and easy procedure to establish a brand-new account.

Following a spate of impersonations of his account previously this year, Mr Musk tweeted: “The crypto rip-off level on Twitter is reaching brand-new levels. This is not cool.”


The current attack was another level still, as instead of merely impersonate Musk and other significant accounts, the fraudsters were in fact able to pirate their accounts.

A bitcoin address utilized in the attacks got more than 350 payments, which amounted to around ₤95,000, prior to Twitter acted to take the posts down and return the accounts to their owners.

Twitter explained the attack as a “collaborated social engineering attack by individuals who effectively targeted a few of our workers with access to internal systems and tools.”

In a series of tweets the social networks giant specified as soon as again that it has actually “taken substantial actions” to avoid such an attack from occurring once again.


Among these steps seems banning bitcoin addresses from being posted on its platform, nevertheless individuals have actually currently found out workarounds.

While bitcoin fraudsters might no longer have the ability to publish their digital addresses in a tweet, they are still able to tweet a screenshot of their bitcoin address, and even publish their address by adding a single dot in the middle of the address.

Cryptocurrency rip-offs will likely continue for as long as such approaches are possible, though security specialists state the greatest issue raised by the most current occurrence is not the rip-off itself however how the attack was performed.

” This was the greatest security breach in Twitter’s history, however regular users were not impacted by it at all – unless they succumbed to the rip-offs published by the hacked celebs,” Mikko Hypponen, primary research study officer at cyber security company F-Secure, composed in an emailed remark.

” In the end, this might have been much even worse … The attack might have done far even worse things than to rip-off bitcoins out of individuals; the assailants had access to whatever. They might have done anything on Twitter. They might have begun tweeting unusual things in the names of the United States Governmental prospects throughout the ballot this November, for instance.”

Anthony Cuthbertson Read More.