Numerous major Twitter accounts including those of presidential candidate Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Uber, Apple, and more, appear to have been the victims of a hacking campaign on Tuesday afternoon, after posting similarly-worded tweets directing followers to hand over bitcoins.
Events kicked off when the Twitter accounts for major cryptocurrency platforms Coinbase, Gemini, and Binance, among others, all put out tweets minutes apart stating they had partnered up with an organization called CryptoForHealth and that they would be “giving back 5000 BTC to the community.” The tweets all included a link to a site that has been tagged by Google and Cloudflare as a phishing site.
Following those, the accounts for Apple, Uber, Mike Bloomberg, and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk all posted tweets soliciting bitcoins using the exact same Bitcoin address as the one included on the CryptoForHealth website. Soon, Biden's account followed suit.
Most of the tweets, including the one on Biden's page, have been removed already. Apple’s Twitter account appears to be entirely wiped of tweets.
When visited, the CryptoForHealth page states that Covid-19 has hurt the economy and that several major cryptocurrency companies have joined up to “give back to the community” with a giveaway. The set-up is a typical scam in the cryptocurrency world: send us some amount of bitcoins and you will receive double back.
The Bitcoin wallet’s first transactions were Wednesday, July 15, and at the time of writing has amassed nearly $100,000 USD in bitcoins.
“Our security team is actively investigating the situation of this coordinated attack on crypto Twitter,” a spokesperson for Binance told Motherboard in an email.
Gemini co-founder and CEO Tyler Winklevoss described the incident as a hack in a tweet that warned people not to fall for the scam.
“WARNING: @Gemini's twitter account, along with a number of other crypto twitter accounts, has been hacked. This has resulted in @Gemini, @Coinbase, @Binance, and @Coindesk, tweeting about a scam partnership with CryptoForHealth. DO NOT CLICK THE LINK! These tweets are SCAMS,” he wrote.
Spokespeople for Tesla were not immediately available to comment on Musk’s tweets. Uber and Apple spokespeople were also not immediately available. Twitter spokespeople have also not responded to Motherboard’s request for comment.
Cryptocurrency scams on Twitter, particularly those that impersonate well-known users and solicit bitcoins from potential victims, have run rampant on the platform for years. However, this is one of the biggest incidents to date, involving numerous verified accounts being hacked.
Joseph Cox contributed reporting to this article.