Twitter is actively investigating after one of the Twitter accounts of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was hacked.
For nearly an hour, the verified account – @narendramodi_in – posted several tweets asking people to donate Bitcoin to another account.
Twitter itself was of course famously hacked in July, and the compromise of its internal systems resulted in the official Twitter accounts of 130 public figures and corporations including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, tweeting a bitcoin scam that offered to double people’s bitcoin payment.
Twitter subsequently confirmed that the hackers had targeted a small number of its staff through a phone “spear phishing” attack, in order to compromise Twitter admin systems.
But now over a month later, the Twitter account of another high profile figure has somehow been compromised.
This @narendramodi_in Modi account is the verified Twitter handle for Modi’s personal website. It has 2.5 million followers, is one of a handful of verified accounts connected to the Indian prime minister.
For example, his personal Twitter account, which was unaffected by this incident, has more than 61 million followers.
So what message did the hackers use Modi’s account to promote? Well, it apparently posted several tweets asking people to donate Bitcoin to another account.
“Yes this account is hacked by John Wick,” one tweet read in part, referencing the famous movie hitman character played by Keanu Reeves.
“I appeal to you all to donate generously to PM National Relief Fund for Covid-19, Now India begin with crypto currency,” another tweet read.
All of these offending tweets have been deleted.
Twitter told CNN that it was “aware of this activity and have taken steps to secure the compromised account.”
“We are actively investigating the situation,” a Twitter spokesperson reportedly said.
Twitter also reportedly said that the origin of this attack on Modi’s account is not yet clear.
There’s no indication or evidence of any correlation between this hack and July’s incident, according to Twitter.
But one security expert warned that this social engineering attacks are becoming increasingly common, and it is not just the Twitter platform at risk.
“The hacking of the Indian Prime Minister’s Twitter account indicates that coordinated social engineering attacks are fast becoming a norm,” said Check Point cyber-security evangelist, Derek Middlemiss.
“We’ve now seen several instances of these attacks on Twitter, such as the celebrity accounts hacked in July this year,” said Middlemiss. “Twitter has long been the de facto platform for people with the coveted blue check-mark, such as politicians, journalists, executives, and celebrities who make news and shape culture. It is primarily that large-scale influence that makes the social media platform such an attractive target for hackers.”
“It’s important to understand that Twitter is not the only social media platform at high risk of cyber-attacks. WhatsApp and TikTok, for example, are equally at high risk,” added Middlemiss. “With so much traction, data, and speed of information travel, hackers can design some of the most sophisticated cyber-attacks to execute on the masses.
“In the past, Check Point researchers discovered security flaws on both WhatsApp and TikTok. The truth is that end users are the weakest link.,” said Middlemiss.
“To stay safe, users of Twitter and other social media platforms should install anti-virus software and email filters,” said Middlemiss. “These will block sophisticated phishing attacks and prevent lateral cyber-attacks within an organization by scanning and blocking internal threats in real time. ”
“Social media users should also double check a website’s security before entering any sensitive information by looking for a URL that begins with “https” and properly spells the name out of the website, which indicates that a site is secure,” he concluded.
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