Twitter says that a third-party app is responsible for the ongoing Bitcoin scam using a fake Elon Musk account.
Twitter is home to a lot of things: flame wars, hashtags, and an ongoing Bitcoin scam. Quite a few high profile accounts have been hijacked to promote a scam featuring a fake Elon Musk account. The gist of the scam is that people who send in some BTC to a wallet address will get roughly 10 times the BTC in return. The scam has proven profitable, and people have been hammering the social media platform over the issue. However, Twitter has now stated that the source of the Bitcoin scam is a third-party app and not the platform itself.
Bitcoin Scam Shenanigans on Twitter
The fake Elon Musk BTC scam has proven quite durable and keeps popping back up. It’s become so prevalent that the real Elon Musk joked about it in a tweet, causing the platform to temporarily suspend his account.
Over the last couple of weeks, Twitter accounts belonging to Target and Google’s G Suite have been among the notable accounts hacked to help perpetuate the scam. However, it is now being revealed that the hacking, in at least several instances, did not take place on the platform itself. Instead, a third-party app was used to leverage the scam messages. The app in question is a marketing tool that is approved to post messages on behalf of clients, such as Target.
Twitter has not named the third-party app in question.
People Keep Falling for the Scam
You would think that people would cotton on to the scam, but it keeps chugging along. A new research study from Duo Security, compiled by data scientist Olabode Anise and R&D engineer Jordan Wright, sheds some light on why the BTC scam continues to be successful.
First, they note the increasing sophistication of the scam. Anise and Wright say:
It’s a bit of a cat and mouse game. When it first started, they would post a spam tweet.
And that was pretty much the end of it. But over time, we started seeing them get more advanced, and they would have accounts dedicated to liking that tweet, trying to give it credibility… and now we’re seeing it taken to the next level, with hijacked accounts replying to the tweet saying it worked for them, trying to give an air of legitimacy.
The researchers also say that the scammers are quite adept at making unseen text edits that help the spam fly under Twitter’s radar. They note:
One thing we’ve noticed over time is the accounts using white space in a different way, or characters that may not be normal ASCII characters but maybe unicode. So it can be difficult to do pattern matching on the text of a tweet. It may look very simple to the human eye, but it may be different in terms of trying to implement this programmatically.
As for why people keep falling for the scam, the study says that the incorrect grammar often used in the spam messages deter individuals sophisticated enough to realize it’s a scam. They note that the actual targets are not alert crypto holders but, rather, those individuals, sad to say, that are kind of slow on the uptake. The reality is that as long as people are greedy or not too bright, this type of scam will continue. As the old adage says, “A fool and his money are soon parted.”
What do you think of this ongoing Bitcoin scam on Twitter? Let us know in the comments below.
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