Billionaire billionaire Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates are among the many prominent American characters targeted by hackers on Twitter in a Bitcoin scam.
The official accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Kanye West also requested cryptocurrency donations.
“Everyone is asking me to come back, and now it’s time,” said a tweet from Mr. Gates’s account. “You send 1,000 dollars, and I return 2,000 dollars.”
The tweets were deleted just minutes after they were first published.
Twitter has taken an extraordinary step to completely stop many of the verified accounts that have been blue tagged from their tweets.
There were reports that password reset requests were also rejected.
“This seems to be the worst breakthrough from a major social media platform to date,” Dmitry Alberovich, co-founder of CrowdStrike, a cyber security company, told Reuters news agency.
Twitter said it was looking into the accident and would issue a statement soon.
On Mr Musk’s official account, it appears that the head of Tesla and SpaceX are offering to double any Bitcoin payment sent to his digital wallet address “for the next hour”.
“I feel generous because of Covid-19,” added a tweet with the bitcoin link title.
One of these tweets was deleted from the musk account, only one, then the third.
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In addition to rapper Kanye West, his wife, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, former US President Obama and Mr. Biden, the current Democratic presidential nominee and media billionaire Mike Bloomberg, major corporations Uber and Apple have been targeted.
Biden’s campaign said that Twitter “closed the account within a few minutes of the breach and removed related tweets.”
A spokesman for Bill Gates told the Associated Press: “This appears to be part of a larger issue facing Twitter.”
Unprecedented “smash and grab”
Posted by Joe Teddy, cyber security reporter
These tricks of “doubling your Bitcoin” have been a persistent scourge on Twitter for years but this is unprecedented with the actual accounts of public figures being hijacked and widespread.
The fact that many different users have been hacked at the same time means that this is a problem in the Twitter platform itself.
The first suggestions are that someone managed to get some kind of management privileges and passwords of any account they wanted.
With so much power at their fingertips, attackers could have done much more damage with more sophisticated tweets that could harm the reputation of an individual or organization.
But the motivation seems clear – earn as much money as quickly as possible. The pirates knew that tweets would not stay awake for long, so this was equivalent to a “smash and grab” operation.
There are conflicting accounts about how much money hackers have made and even when settling the number, it is important to remember that cybercriminals are known to add their own money into their bitcoin wallets to make the fraud look more legitimate.
Either way, it will be very difficult to catch criminals by following the money. Law enforcement, as well as many angry users, will have some strong questions for Twitter about how this happens.
Cameron Winklevoss, who was declared the first Bitcoin billionaire in the world in 2017 with his twin brother Tyler, tweeted on Wednesday warning people not to participate in a “scam”.
In the short time he was online, the link displayed in targeted account tweets received hundreds of contributions totaling more than $ 100,000 (£ 80,000), according to publicly available blockchain records.
All targeted Twitter accounts have millions of followers.