Hackers Hijack Elon Musk’s Twitter, Offer ‘Free’ Cryptocurrency

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A business magnate’s Twitter account got hacked and started promising free Bitcoin and Ethereum to its 22.5 million followers.

Elon Musk, CEO & co-founder of Tesla, became the victim of growing hacking incidents on Twitter – for the second time. As the tycoon got busy posting philosophical tweets, his impersonator with a verified Twitter account joined the thread line and started offering cryptocurrency tips. The fake Musk built on real Musk’s promise to “take [Tesla], private,” stating that the planned reorganization will see the addition of Bitcoin and Ethereum payment methods as “one of the steps in moving forward.”

The extent to which the fake news spread could not be verified. However, some users did fell for it, with one of them accusing Musk of stealing from people. While others also questioned how a fake Musk was able to obtain a Twitter-verified status.

Twitter recently had emerged as a hotbed for fraudulent account practices. The accounts of many high profile cryptocurrency celebrities, including Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, and cybersecurity expert John McAfee, have been impersonated by hackers – with a Twitter-verified status.

Musk himself has been a victim of identity hack already. In February, a fake Elon Musk profile on Twitter had announced that it was giving out 400 ETH to fans.

Twitter later assured its users with better defense frameworks to safeguard profiles. Excerpt from its statement on The Verge:

“We’re aware of this form of manipulation and are proactively implementing a number of signals to prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner.”

And yet, many fake profiles remain, proving it an arduous task to govern.

The Anatomy of “Free Cryptocurrency” Scam

As of now, there are hundreds of fake accounts on Twitter that promise to send free cryptocurrencies to victims. Sky News in February reported that a Twitter-based scam has siphoned off as much as £50,000 in a day. And such cases are on the rise.

The trick to lure victims is stupidly simple. The hackers impersonate high profile accounts and urge victims to send a few quantities of cryptocurrencies units to their wallet address. In return, these hackers promise high yields at a later date. These tricks have worked so well in the past that it has moved legitimate personalities to issue a clarification to their followers. Vitalik Buterin even changed his Twitter profile’s name, stating that he does not give free Ether.

The only defense a Twitter user can apply to safeguard himself is to stay doubtful of profiles promising free cryptocurrencies – even if they are verified.

Featured image from Flickr/TED Conference.

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