Crypto Hackers Cheat Twitter Users Using Elon Musk's Popularity

Daniel Fowler
November 8, 2018

However, now these tweets have ventured outside the Elon Musk's mentions and into timelines.

While the attack was thought to have been made specifically on a number of verified accounts (those with the blue tick) it has been confirmed that at least Matalan, Pathe UK and publisher Pantheon Books were successfully targeted. Most would overlook the account handle, which for the official Elon Musk account is @elonmusk.

Clothing retailer Matalan and Pathé United Kingdom, the British arm of the French filmmaker, were both targeted by the scammers, who took control of the brands' Twitter accounts and posted scam messages advertising the giveaway.

Several other verified accounts, which were also taken under the scam artists' control, appear in the tweet's comments to claim that they have received Bitcoin from Mr Musk. It's a common tactic to use high-profile public figures for these scam attempts and Twitter has been fighting a long battle to ban the accounts.

A spokesman for Twitter said the company did not comment on individual accounts but added: "Impersonating another individual to deceive users is a clear violation of the Twitter rules".

But numerous posts still bear the hallmarks of classic scams - including frequent spelling errors (see "Bitcoic" and "suppoot" in the above tweet) and a request for money.

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

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But they didn't stop there - then (using a stolen credit card we can safely assume) they purchased advertising from Twitter and gave the post some extra promotion - causing tens of thousands of extra people to see it.

Twitter actually locked Musk's account for some time, believing it had actually been compromised.

It is, however, something rather amusing in the fact that they did decide to use Elon Musk for this.

Twitter spokeswoman Liz Kelley told Quartz in an email, "In recent weeks, impressions have fallen by a multiple of 10 as we continue to invest in more proactive tools to detect spammy and malicious activity".

Celebrities who have had their names used in these scams have complained about it, urging Twitter to take more serious steps to tackle the problem.

Illustration of Elon Musk smoking weed. He says twitter needs an algorithm that can quickly identify and remove crypto-scams in the future.

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