Despite reports, Netanyahu not among world leaders targeted in Twitter hack

Despite reports, Netanyahu not among world leaders targeted in Twitter hack

Fake tweets from prominent politicians, tech firms and personalities — including Apple, Kanye West and Jeff Bezos — solicited deposits to anonymous Bitcoin account

Bitcoin. (AFP Photo/Karen Bleier)
Bitcoin. (AFP Photo/Karen Bleier)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Twitter account was not hacked, despite media reports that it was one of several belonging to prominent technology moguls, politicians, celebrities and major companies taken over in an apparent cryptocurrency scam on Wednesday.

According to the BBC, a screenshot of a Hebrew tweet circulating online in which Netanyahu appeared to offer followers money in exchange for sending him Bitcoin was a fabrication.

Britain’s national broadcaster said it had found no evidence the tweet had been sent from the prime minister’s account and noted that only images of the alleged missive had been shared, never a direct link.

“The tweet in question was not tweeted from the official account of the prime minister,” an Israeli embassy spokesman in London told the BBC. “We believe it must be fake.”

A screen capture of a fake tweet attributed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which circulated online on July 15, 2020 after a massive hack of celebrity accounts. (Twitter)

Asked for further comment, Netanyahu spokesman David Baker told The Times of Israel that the Prime Minister’s Office was “not commenting on those reports.”

Unidentified hackers broke into the Twitter accounts of various high-profile figures on Wednesday, including former US president Barack Obama, presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, and a number of tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Celebrities Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, were also hacked, as were companies including Apple, Uber and Bitcoin specialty firms.

The accounts include some of the most prominent on the platform — Obama has over 120 million followers, Kanye West has nearly 30 million, Musk has nearly 37 million and Gates has over 51 million.

The posts, which were largely deleted, were fired off from the array of high-profile accounts telling people they had 30 minutes to send $1,000 in Bitcoin to an anonymous account in order to be sent back twice as much.

Comments and posts at Twitter indicated thousands of dollars in bitcoin may have been sent to the scammers’ digital account.

A version of the scam invited people to click on a link at which they would be exploited.

Among the political figures targeted, the hack mostly appeared to target Democrats or other figures on the left, drawing comparisons to the 2016 presidential campaign.

US intelligence agencies established that Russia engaged in coordinated attempts to interfere in those US elections through social media tampering and various hacks, including targeting the various campaigns and major party organizations.

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