Tech

Erik Gibbs

Target, Google Twitter accounts succumb to crypto scammers

I’m not sure what’s worse—that Twitter cryptocurrency-stealing scams are still popping up, or that people are still falling for them. It’s a simple concept, really. If someone is promoting free cryptocurrency on Twitter, it’s more than likely fake, so just ignore it. If the tweet contains horrific grammar, it is positively, unequivocally fake—run away. The advice may have come a little too late for some Twitter users who were subjected to scams that appeared on accounts tied to both Google and U.S. retail giant Target.

Google’s official G Suite Twitter account was compromised to promote a scam that offered free Bitcoin Core (BTC). The promotion offered “10 000 Bitcoin (BTC) to all community!…” and that short phrase contains two glaring errors that Google would never permit.

Fortunately, Google took down the account and the fake ad had only appeared for about 10 minutes. What’s even scarier than the ad itself is that Google—one of the top tech companies in the world—would allow its Twitter handle to be compromised.

Target’s official Twitter account was also the target of a very similarly worded tweet on Tuesday. Supposedly with a smaller budget, it could only give away “5 000 Bitcoin BTC to all community.” There’s no word on if anyone fell for the scam, but it had 204 comments, 106 re-tweets and 714 likes before it was removed.

While Google never offered a response to the hack, Target was nice enough to issue an apology. It posted later that read, “Early this morning, our Twitter account was inappropriately accessed. The access lasted for approx. half an hour & one fake tweet was posted during that time about a bitcoin scam. We have regained control of the account, are in close contact with Twitter & are investigating now.”

In addition to Google and Target, The Body Shop, the Toledo Rockets, Universal Music Czech Republic, Elon Musk and others have all had their Twitter accounts compromised to run the same type of scam. While Twitter said earlier this year that it was updating its internal controls to try and prevent hacks, it apparently isn’t doing a very good job.

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