Despite the increased security efforts, Twitter is still unable to weed out scam accounts, as U.S. retail giant Target became the latest victim of bitcoin scam hacks, The Next Web reported on November 13, 2018. This comes soon after a verified account on Twitter disguised as Elon Musk was found distributing “free bitcoins”
Lucrative Twitter Scams Getting out of Hand, Not Even Retail Giants Safe
The abundance of cryptocurrency scams posted on Twitter seems to be increasing as the end of the year is getting closer, and the platform seems to be having a hard time weeding out the scam accounts from its service.
TechCrunch called these types of scams “depressingly easy” to pull off, pointing out that hackers could earn half a year’s wages for the average reporter in just a couple of hours.
However, the latest Elon Musk bitcoin scam isn’t even comparable to some of the other successful scams that have happened during November 2018. According to a November 5 report from Bleeping Computer, another scam pretending to be from Elon Musk, and using the Twitter handle from Pantheon Books, has earned scammers over 28 bitcoins or approximately $180,000 in a single day.
A Twitter spokesperson said it’s improved how it handles cryptocurrency scams and has seen a significant reduction in the number of users who see scammy tweets.
And while many of these hacks could be avoided by making two-factor authentication mandatory for all verified accounts, as TechCrunch pointed out, Twitter still seems to be reluctant to push such security measures to large accounts.
The lack of decisive action from Twitter has led to the largest Twitter cryptocurrency scam yet – the hijacking of Target’s Twitter handle. According to a November 13 report from The Next Web, unidentified hackers briefly hijacked the official account of American retail behemoth Target to push malicious Bitcoin giveaway links to its almost two million followers.
The tweet, which was quickly deleted, encouraged users to send a small sum of cryptocurrency for a chance to enter a massive $30 million Bitcoin giveaway.
Bitcoin Scammers Hijack Twitter Accounts to Run Sponsored Ads
Despite the company increasing its login security requirements and cleaning up dozens, if not hundreds of cryptocurrency scams, scammers always seem to be one step ahead with a new type of rip-off. What seems to be the only constant in the world of Twitter crypto scams is that almost all of them use Tesla CEO Elon Musk as bait.
According to Fortune, these “get rich quick” work like this: a hacker hijacks a verified Twitter account using stolen or leaked passwords, after which they change the name and the picture on the Twitter account to imitate Musk. To make sure that the verified account looks like Musk’s real profile, the hackers retweet many of his Tweets.
The hijacked account then becomes a vehicle to promote the scam, in which “Elon Musk” claims to have quit Twitter, and asks people to send Bitcoin so they can receive the proceeds of a big giveaway. The end result appears as though Musk is responding to his own tweet, telling bitcoin owners to drop their coins into the scammer’s coffers.
The victim of the scam was Farah Menswear, a clothing retailer in the U.K. In the few hours since the scam began, the bitcoin address listed in the Tweet already had more than 100 transactions and over 5.84 bitcoins, or about $37,000.