(TMU) – A surprisingly large number of high-profile Twitter accounts ranging from Barack Obama to Elon Musk and Kanye West were hacked Wednesday in an apparent Bitcoin scam that fooled online users into handing over at least $130,000.
The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Uber, and Square’s Cash App were hacked in the cryptocurrency scam, as were accounts belonging to billionaires Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Mike Bloomberg and Elon Musk.
Rapper Kanye West, former U.S. President Barack Obama, and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also fell prey to the hackers.
Each of the Twitter accounts have millions of followers.
In various tweets, the accounts posted messages requesting that followers send USD $1,000 in Bitcoin to specific web addresses, after which they would get double the contribution in return.
“Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time,” a tweet from Microsoft CEO and philanthroper Bill Gates’s account said. “You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.”
In another tweet from Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX founder, users were urged to send $1,000 to his digital wallet in “the next hour” to double their funds.
“I’m feeling generous because of Covid-19,” the tweet said, along with a URL where users could send their Bitcoins.
The scam is a common tactic used to rob people of money on the basis of false promises to send a larger sum in return, notes Business Insider.
In the short time that the malicious tweets were online, the address displayed in the tweets garnered about $113,000 in contributions, according to Bitcoin transaction receipts – equaling over 11 bitcoins. About 320 transactions were listed on the account.
However, the transactions may have been carried out with scammers themselves to grant their account more legitimacy in the eyes of visitors.
Many of the scam tweets were deleted within minutes of being posted, but the scam tweets were reposted moments later.
When Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao attempted to warn followers that the tweets were a scam, his account was revealed to also have been compromised when hackers quickly deleted his warning, reports The Block.
A campaign aide for Biden said that the candidate’s account was “locked down” immediately. “We remain in touch with Twitter on the matter,” the aide told CNN.
A spokesperson for Bill Gates also described the incident as “part of a larger issue that Twitter is facing.”
We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 15, 2020
In a tweet, Twitter’s support account said: “We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly.”
The messages appeared after major cryptocurrency companies also shared malicious links. Affected entities include KUCOIN, Binance, and Gemini, according to MalwareTech blog. The website that users were directed to, titled CryptoForHealth, was pulled offline shortly after the malicious tweets were posted.
MalwareTech also speculated that the accounts were likely made vulnerable through third-party apps rather than directly through the Twitter platform.
A bunch of high profile cryptocurrency Twitter accounts have been hijacked to tweet bitcoin scams. Likely a 3rd party App compromise rather that Twitter itself. Wallet has received ~$6000. pic.twitter.com/D8MiXrz9ml
— MalwareTech (@MalwareTechBlog) July 15, 2020
Due to the large amount of high-profile accounts impacted in Wednesday’s attack, the event may be the largest security incident in Twitter’s history.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.