Cryptocurrency users may have noticed that there has been an influx of Twitter account hacks in the past week or so. One of the affected accounts was that of Vertcoin, although it was quickly recovered. It now seems a network of bots was behind these hacks. Twitter has confirmed that those bots successfully stole various identities over the course of three days.
The Twitter Bot Problem
Although bots are nothing new in the world of social media, it remains pretty difficult to protect against nefarious activity. Twitter found this out the hard way, as various popular cryptocurrency-related accounts were hijacked in the past week. Virtually every attempt at taking over such an account was done to promote a crypto scam and hopefully trick novice users into sending over Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin.
While such scams have been around for some time now, it seems they’ve been becoming a lot more prolific in the past few weeks. Even accounts belonging to cryptocurrency investors can be hijacked with relative ease, although they are usually recovered in short order. It is evident the cryptocurrency industry is attracting a lot of attention right now, and it will continue to attract a lot of criminal activity as well.
Determining the reason for these hijackings has been somewhat problematic for the Twitter team. Unlike what was assumed at first, these accounts were not taken over due to lackluster security precautions on the part of users. Instead, it seems a network of bots was purposefully hijacking cryptocurrency-related accounts for three days straight before the network was shut down entirely.
So far, a lot of information regarding this network of bots remains shrouded in mystery. It is evident the attack itself was aimed at cryptocurrency users, although the concept of using bots for that specific purpose isn’t new. Various celebrities have had their accounts hijacked in recent months, and impersonator accounts have tended to pop up on a rather regular basis as well. Social networks are inherently vulnerable to such activity, which is not entirely surprising either.
Thankfully, it seems the bot network has now been shut down completely, although it remains unclear how that happened exactly. This doesn’t mean Twitter can prevent similar bots from continuing to target cryptocurrency users, although the company is “implementing countermeasures” to prevent history from repeating itself. Other botnets will surface in due time; that much is certain.
It seems the bots’ efforts were not overly successful. No Bitcoins were obtained, although a few Ether and Litecoin were sent to the scammers. Going through all of this trouble for just $1,520 in profit may not necessarily have been worth it. Even so, the overall appeal of cryptocurrencies will not diminish anytime soon, and criminals will come up with new ways to trick users accordingly.