Twitter accounts of major companies and high profile individuals have been compromised in one of the most pronounced security breaches on a social media site.
Accounts of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, former president Barack Obama, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and many others are seen to have posted a fake bitcoin offer on Wednesday.
However, the first account to be compromised was that of Elon Musk’s – a noted cyptocurrency enthusiast.
Twitter spokesperson confirmed the incidents, and assured that they are investigating and taking steps to remove the posts.
During this time, Twitter users may not be able to tweet or reset their passwords “while we review and address this incident.”
The tweet, as posted on the compromised accounts, promises to double all payments sent to a BTC address.
The scam duped people into sending more than $118,000 to the hackers within the first hours of the attack.
It is still unclear how the attacks originated or why they went on for hours, some cyber security experts suggests that someone may have gained access to internal Twitter controls that allowed them to take over and post on the accounts.
Cyber security experts also warned that this type of breach could have devastating effects if used for something more dangerous than to take money from unsuspecting users.
“This is most likely the largest attack I’ve ever seen,” said Rachel Tobac, CEO of SocialProof Security.
“We are extremely lucky that these attackers are monetarily motivated and not sowing mass chaos all over the world.”
Harper Reed, entrepreneur who served as the 2012 Obama campaign’s chief technology officer said, “The problem is that we all rely on Twitter as this public space that is safe and secure, and we know that the tweets that someone like a Joe Biden is sending out are authentic. Twitter has proven to us that may not be true.”