Elon Musk Scam Pays Off For Hackers

Marco Green
November 7, 2018

Generally, the scammers will hack a verified account, change the display name to "Elon Musk", copy his profile photo, and then tweet about a fake cryptocurrency giveaway.

In order to maintain the authenticity of the hacked account, the Pathe account was renamed as Elon Musk.

After Twitter reportedly restricted (and banned) numerous accounts sharing the likeness of Tesla & SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, one of the social media platform's foremost stars, reports have arisen that claim that the world-renowned entrepreneur has been impersonated yet again, this time in a context pertaining to Bitcoin (BTC).

To contain this, micro-blogging site Twitter came up with a rule which prevents users from selecting his or her name to Elon Musk.

Another day on Twitter, another Elon Musk cryptocurrency giveaway scam.

The scam itself was the usual bait of "send some Bitcoin i'll send even more back" - which from a verified account or not - is always an obvious scam.

But the victims do not receive any Bitcoin after sending money to the scammers.

Some of the latest accounts to be hacked, edited and used to spread the scam include the British fashion retailer Matalan, film distributor Pathe UK and US publisher Pantheon Books. This sums up to over $135,000 at the current Bitcoin prices.

In most cases, the affected accounts have been recovered and the scam Tweets deleted in the space of a few hours, but in some, the compromised accounts have continued to display posts made by attackers for an extended period.

At the Black Hat cybersecurity conference this August, computer researchers at Duo Security said an analysis of 88 million Twitter accounts between May and July 2018 revealed a huge bot-net that was actively promoting cryptocurrency scams. In recent weeks, user impressions have fallen by a multiple of 10 in recent weeks as we continue to invest in more proactive tools to detect spammy and malicious activity. After hacking a verified account, the scammers have successfully "promoted" their tweets using Twitter's ad service, effectively forcing their way into timelines of everyday users. "This is a significant improvement on previous action rates", they added. However, the way in which accounts are regularly being compromised suggests that many users aren't adopting this additional layer of protection. "You know you're important when someone takes the time to hack your account!".

Musk has previously asked Dogecoin co-creator Jackson Palmer to help provide a fix to the scam accounts issue.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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