An unprecedented Twitter security incident saw numerous prominent accounts hacked on Wednesday, including those of several tech luminaries and companies, as part of an apparent bitcoin scam.
Leading tech industry figures reportedly affected by the wave of hacks included Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, while impacted corporate accounts included those of Apple and Uber.
Twitter accounts of legendary investor Warren Buffett, former President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and hip-hop artist Kanye West were among the others reportedly affected.
Starting with Musk‘s account after 4 p.m. Eastern Time, the accounts were used to post tweets soliciting bitcoin transfers. For instance, a post to Buffett’s account 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!” The message was followed by a bitcoin address.
Tweets to the accounts were deleted, but in some cases were reportedly followed by additional tweets along the same lines.
A statement provided by Gates said that the tweets appeared “to be part of a larger issue that Twitter is facing.”
At 5:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Twitter‘s Support account tweeted, “We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it.”
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
At around 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Twitter prevented verified account holders from tweeting as part of its response.
Twitter’s stock price declined more than 3 percent to US$34.56 in after-hours trading on Wednesday.