The second largest film studio in Europe, Pathe had its verified Twitter account hacked on Nov, 5 and the account was used to solicit Bitcoin from its followers. Based on reports, the hacker was able to raise Bitcoins worth about 38,000 dollars within 24 hours after the tweet was made.
To get the attention of people, the profile’s name and picture were changed to that of Elon Musk. Elon Reeve Musk is a popular entrepreneur who is the co-founder of Paypal. As such, it doesn’t come as a surprise that this public figure whose identity was used to solicit funds yielded many results.
In the tweet which was also advertised by Twitter, the fans were made to believe that the Elon Musk was working in partnership with Tesla, Inc. to giveaway BTC. According to the message, “10,000 Bitcoins” was to be shared among the community and anyone who sent 0.1 BTC to the address specified was going to receive one – 10 BTCs.
The “biggest Crypto-giveaway”, as the tweet called it, ended up being one of the biggest scams. The revelation came after the original owner of the account was able to detect the fraud and regain access to the account. But then, it was too late since the harm had already been done giving that over 6 BTC was raised in a single day.
On closer inspection of the tweet, one would’ve been able to detect foul play since words like Bitcoin and support were misspelt and the username was @patheuk, instead of @elonmusk. On the other hand, there were comments made by people testifying that they had gotten their share of the BTC. It is believed that these accounts were also hacked to give users the impression that the scam was legit.
The film company who was able to gain access to the account hours later deleted the tweet. Pathé went ahead to deny having posted the message, claiming that there was a hack on the account that same morning. Therefore, it made a tweet to that effect, clearly stating that;
The Pathe UK Twitter account was hacked this morning by an unknown third party. A series of unauthorised tweets were sent for which we apologise. The issue has now been resolved and we have taken back control of our account.
This is not the first time someone has used the popularity of a celebrity or a verified Twitter account to scam people, and despite the social media’s attempt to curb the rate of fake accounts, some people have still found loopholes.