Scammers pose as Elon Musk after hacking verified Twitter accounts

Elon Musk Twitter

British fashion retailer Matalan, film distributor Pathe UK and United States publisher Pantheon Books were among those whose accounts were taken over by scam artists.

The tweets have since been deleted and numerous accounts recovered.

To add greater legitimacy to the account, the scammers would show up in Musk's mentions, acting as if it was Musk who was Tweeting. The scam promised that if a person were willing to give a small amount of bitcoin, they would be eligible to receive a significantly larger sum.

Often scammers have used other compromised accounts to respond to the initial post, claiming they've received a bitcoin payment in a move created to trick users into thinking the scheme is legitimate.

"The nature of this scam brings to light some seemingly obvious issues with Twitter's verified account system. I left the post of director of Tesla, thank you all for your suppoot!" the tweet reads. The hackers also updated Pathé's account to impersonate Elon Musk, perhaps in an effort to lend more credibility to the fake giveaway.

Screenshot of compromised Pathe UK account. 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.

Several of these accounts have since been recovered and the tweets deleted.

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The scheme was made to appear trustworthy with replies from other compromised accounts of users with lots of followers, including boxer Rayton Okwiri, blogger Sarah Scoop and Swansea City AFC Ladies.

Twitter doesn't enforce two-factor authentication (2FA) on verified accounts, but recommends it as a precaution for users.

It is said that the hackers have compromised several different accounts, including those of film producer Pathe U.K. and USA politician Frank Pallone Jr. These accounts then took part in the Elon Musk scam by tweeting how the "giveaway" was already working for them.

Twitter has come under fire from cryptocurrency commentators once again after the social network began actively promoting an ongoing scam involving a Bitcoin giveaway.

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

While the spokeswoman for Twitter claimed that the company is actively working on how to tackle cryptocurrency scams and that the number of hoaxes decreased by 10 times in recent weeks, the ordeal still raises many questions to security experts.

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