The news broke yesterday on the Twitter scam that targeted some of the biggest accounts in the cryptocurrency industry.
It turns out that the crypto field was not the target, but Bitcoin was the preferred means of payment for the hackers. As CryptoPotato reported, multiple accounts were hacked with a message promising that if users sent BTC a particular address, they would get a 2:1 return.
On-chain data analytics provider Crypto Quant has broken down some of the key findings so far, including the number of victims that coughed up, the amount of BTC that was sent to mixers, and the exchanges that could see inflow from this incident.
Twitter hacker stats:
– 388 victims deposited
– No #BTC went into exchanges yet
– 4.8 BTC went into the mixer
– Significant inflows from Kraken and Bitstamp possibly due to this FUDhttps://t.co/xOVgoL9eYL
— CryptoQuant (@cryptoquant_com) July 16, 2020
Crypto personalities and advocates were not the only victims of the social media scam as the accounts of Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian, and Floyd Mayweather. In addition, the official accounts of Apple and Uber were also compromised.
Twitter Insiders Responsible?
A report on Motherboard suggested that a Twitter insider was responsible according to leaked screenshots the outlet acquired. The accounts were taken over using an internal tool at Twitter, according to the two sources, one of which told the outlet: “We used a rep that literally done all the work for us,”
Some of the accounts appear to have been compromised by changing the email address associated with them using the tool, as per the screenshots seen by Motherboard. Twitter has yet to admit full responsibility but did post this partial implication of its own staff.
“We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”
Twitter temporarily limited posting capabilities, and verified accounts were unable to tweet. Their investigation continues.
The screenshots themselves were starting to appear on the platform at the time of writing though posters have been saying that the company has been banning people for the images and deleting them.
It has additionally been revealed that there was a hidden message in at least one of the transactions associated with the hack according to blockchain data. The message partially reads:
“You Take Risk When Use Bitcoin
For Your Twitter Game
Bitcoin is Traceable
Why Not Monero”
Bitcoin is often the payment method of choice for cybercrime as is fast, easy and can be obfuscated via a few additional steps.
Naturally, the crypto critics such as the largely uninformed gold investor Peter Schiff wasted no time bashing Bitcoin;
“I wonder if this is a harbinger of Bitcoin itself being hacked? Better to play it safe and just buy #gold.”
It looks like all verified Twitter accounts have been hacked by someone running a #Bitcoin scam. For once not being verified has its advantageous. I wonder if this is a harbinger of Bitcoin itself being hacked? Better to play it safe and just buy #gold.
— Peter Schiff (@PeterSchiff) July 15, 2020
It took several industry executives and cryptography experts to point out that Twitter was hacked, not Bitcoin, though Schiff appears to be blinded by this. Ethereum proponent, Ryan Sean Adams, made a very valid point in a separate comment.
“Maybe twitter should be a protocol instead of a company where root access keys can be stolen.”
Centralized social media companies have centralized points of failure, and in this case, it is looking likely that it was indeed an inside job. Crypto markets have not reacted at all with major coins continuing on their path of consolidation, though Twitter stock did plunge 6% in after-hours trading on Wednesday.