From a film company to a High Street shopping name, yesterday say blue ticked Twitter accounts spreading a Bitcoin scam…
At the start of yesterday, the verified Twitter account of prominent British film distributor Pathe was hacked. Instead of greeting browsers with details of its upcoming movies, the account suddenly had the look of an official Elon Musk account. An Elon Musk account, more to the point, that was announcing he was stepping down from his role running Tesla, and giving away 10,000 Bitcoin to mark the occasion.
Most people spotted it as a scam from the outset, but the fact that the scam Tweet was promoted and from an official account did fool some people. With hours, around $130,000 worth of Bitcoin had been sent to the scammers.
By the middle of yesterday afternoon, Pathe UK had regained control of its Twitter account. But the hackers weren’t done.
Next in their sites? The UK clothing store chain Matalan, which befell a similar fate. The trend was the same: for the first 45 minutes or so, the hacked account bore Elon Musk’s name, before being replaced by an ellipsis. The account was restored fairly quickly in this instance, but some damage was already done.
And we’re back! Apologies for the brief interlude. You know you’re important when someone takes the time to hack your account! pic.twitter.com/GNti1YuiJ2
— Matalan (@Matalan) November 5, 2018
Elon Musk, we should note, had nothing to do with any of this, nor is he stepping down from Tesla.
But the hackers weren’t done. They then managed to seize control of American publisher Pantheon Books (that at the time of writing still has some of the scam retweets live on its feed).
These accounts have all been reset, but not before the scammers enjoyed some degree of success.
The identity of the hackers hasn’t yet been determined.
We’ll keep you posted as we hear more – but do continue to be vigilant of scam Tweets looking like this…