Tech 20 April 2018Erik Gibbs
Fake Twitter profile busted for imitating official crypto accounts
The old saying goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” This might be true in some cases, but it’s not always appreciated. A Twitter profile that has been busted for mimicking not just one, but six different accounts. While it’s still not known who is behind the deeds, it should only be a matter of time before the mask is ripped off.
On Twitter, verified accounts are denoted by a blue checkmark, worn like a badge on the profile. An article published on Wednesday by The Next Web, however, showed that the system is seriously flawed. It started with an innocuous account, that of independent film producer and director Seif Elsbei. Elsbei’s Twitter account, @seifsbei, prominently displays the blue badge, and was determined to be posing as the official Verge cryptocurrency account. Having nothing to do with crypto, it was rather odd that posts began appearing by the @seifsbei account that seemed to be promoting the altcoin.
As it turns out, Elsbei’s account had been the target of hackers and, due to the fact that verified accounts can change their handle on the fly, his profile became the @vergecurrency account. After gaining access to the account, the hacker or hackers could easily manipulate it to be identified as any other Twitter user.
After spending a little time as Verge, the account then transformed to become Bitfinex. Seeing an odd pattern of tweets from the account, the Twitter world did a little digging and was able to trace four other copycat accounts to the same hacked profile. Before the Verge and Bitfinex imitations, Elsbei’s profile had been used as a Bittrex profile and even that of Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin. Additionally, evidence popped up showing that the profile had emulated the @bitcoin and the Tron project accounts.
Digging a little deeper it was also revealed that Elsbei’s account was tweeting almost solely in Arabic before the beginning of this week, a possible clue to the origin of the hackers. Elsbei confirmed through his Facebook profile that he had, indeed, been the target of a hack, and that he was working with Twitter to try and put everything back in order.
CoinDesk attempted to make contact with the hacker, but didn’t get a response. As of now, the account has a name of “.” and has gone silent. It doesn’t appear that any real damage was done, but some lowlife certainly seems to have a lot of time on his hands, and not much common sense.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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