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Twitter says 130 people were targeted in hack that hijacked accounts of Elon Musk, Joe Biden

Twitter says 130 people were targeted in hack that hijacked accounts of Elon Musk, Joe Biden

Twitter said late Thursday that about 130 people were targeted in a cyberattack that took control of high-profile accounts to promote a bitcoin scam.

The hackers received $121,000 from over 400 payments to three separate bitcoin addresses, according to blockchain analysis firm Elliptic. Roughly half of those payments were made from U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchanges, Elliptic added.

“Based on what we know right now, we believe approximately 130 accounts were targeted by the attackers in some way as part of the incident,” the social media firm tweeted.

Tweet

“For a small subset of these accounts, the attackers were able to gain control of the accounts and then send Tweets from those accounts.”

The hack, which took place on Wednesday, compromised the accounts of several prominent figures in business and politics.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama were all affected, as well as the corporate accounts of Apple and Uber.

The accounts were seen posting tweets trying to persuade people to send them bitcoin, with the promise of sending back double the funds in return.

Previously, scammers have used the names and profile pictures of people like Musk to lure people into sending them cryptocurrency. But on Wednesday, all of the accounts involved were genuine and belonged to the people targeted.

“These attackers were the equivalent of stealing a McLaren F1, taking it for a joyride and then crashing it into a telephone pole 4 minutes later,” Alex Stamos, former chief security officer of Facebook, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.

“There is so much more damage that could have been done.”

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