Elon Musk and Bill Gates hacked to tweet bitcoin scam

Elon Musk’s Twitter account has seemingly been compromised by a hacker intent on using it to run a bitcoin scam. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates also had his account seemingly accessed by the same scammer, who posted a similar message with an identical bitcoin wallet address. Both accounts are continuing to post new tweets promoting the scam almost as fast as they are deleted.

The Tesla CEO’s account issued a mysterious tweet at 4:17PM ET this afternoon reading, “I‘m feeling generous because of Covid-19. I’ll double any BTC payment sent to my BTC address for the next hour. Good luck, and stay safe out there!” The tweet also contained a bitcoin address, presumably one associated with the hacker’s crypto wallet.

The tweet was then deleted and replaced by another one more plainly laying out the fake promotion. “Feeling grateful doubling all payments sent to my BTC address! You send $1,000, I send back $2,000! Only doing this for the next 30 minutes,” it read before also getting deleted.

The tweet posted to Gates’ account echoed the last Musk tweet, with an identical BTC address attached. It was also deleted shortly after posting, only for a similar message to take its place.

At least one other account, that of Square’s Cash App, appears to have been compromised as well. However, it’s not clear if the culprit is the same or if this is some form of a coordinated scam on behalf of a group as the tweet contained a different BTC address than the ones posted to Gates’ and Musk’s accounts.

In addition to the Cash App, popular crypto Twitter accounts, including those of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’ Gemini cryptocurrency exchange and widely used wallet app Coinmbase, were also compromised. Cameron Winklevoss claims the Gemini account was protected by two-factor authentication and used a strong password, and the company is now investigating how it was hit.

Some people are in fact falling for the scam and sending money to the associated BTC addresses, as records of the transactions are public due to the nature of the blockchain-based cryptocurrency. So far, the scammer appears to have earned more than $55,000.

Musk has long been the target of bitcoin scammers on Twitter, many of whom create fake accounts designed to look like the entrepreneur and respond to his tweets promoting the scams so that they appear legitimate. Twitter even went so far as to start locking some accounts that change their name to “Elon Musk,” and the company singled out cryptocurrency scammers in the spring of 2018 as a source of known manipulation and deception that it was aiming to root out through bans and other moderation strategies.

Neither Tesla nor Twitter immediately responded to requests for comment.

Developing…

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