Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Crypto hackers use Elon Musk`s name to fleece Twitter users

Crypto hackers use Elon Musk`s name to fleece Twitter users

After compromising the verified accounts, the scammers changed the name and profile picture to impersonate Tesla's CEO.

On November 5th, a series of verified Twitter accounts were hacked and shifted into fake accounts representing Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind Boring Co., SpaceX, Tesla, and more.

Scammers targeted several "verified" accounts (denoted with a blue tick) and changed the name and image to that of Mr Musk. The users were encouraged to send a small amount of Bitcoin to an account, and a much larger amount would be sent in return.

In order to add legitimacy to the competition, several other scam accounts often appeared in the replies to the giveaway claiming to have in fact received certain amounts of the digital currency from Musk.

Twitter was asked to comment on the hacks but it responded saying that it does not comment on individual accounts due for "privacy and security reasons".

In addition to this, another tweet was posted which stated that Elon Musk is no more associated with the company and to mark the occasion he has planned a cryptocurrency giveaway, which of course is fake.

Elon Musk's fake account promises to distribute 10,000 BTC (64.1 million USD) for the users but they have to deposit the money first to "prove that they are serious". The post had a link to the cryptocurrency scam which required users to verify their address by sending 0.1 to 1 bitcoin the scammer's payment address.

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The practice screams "it's a scam", as it is asking for money to be sent, and is also littered with spelling mistakes.

It appears Pathé has since been able to reclaim its account and delete the tweet. Hence the result is a verified Elon Musk luring normal Twitter users into suspicious schemes.

British fashion retailer Matalan, film distributor Pathe UK and USA publisher Pantheon Books were among those whose accounts were reset after the hack.

A Pathe UK spokesperson told ZDNet that the firm was hacked by "an unknown third party" but that the issue had "now been resolved". They still maintain the display name as Elon Musk, and this prevents Twitter from flagging it as spam.

In October, Musk caused a stir in the cryptoverse upon tweeting out "Wanna buy some Bitcoin?" in a longer, meme-filled Twitter thread.

Now the scam has become more nuanced as it uses Twitter's own verification to make it more convincing.

"Twitter has also substantially improved how we tackle cryptocurrency scams on the platform".

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