At least a dozen Twitter accounts belonging to major public figures were hacked by scamsters executing a cryptocurrency fraud scheme. A tweet appeared on the timelines of prominent individuals such as Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Joe Biden and Barack Obama urging their followers to send cryptocurrency to a Bitcoin wallet, promising that the funds would be returned in double.
The widespread nature of the recurring scam solicitations makes it likely that hackers discovered a weakness in Twitter’s internal security protocols, enabling them to take control of the accounts of some of the platform’s largest users.
Unfortunately, some Twitter users fell for the dubious scam, with blockchain records indicating that the scam cryptocurrency wallet was sent at least eleven entire bitcoins. One bitcoin is worth around $9,000.
As Twitter struggled to prevent the scamsters from taking control of any more large celebrity accounts and scamming more people, the platform temporarily suspended all tweets from verified users on Wednesday afternoon. Verified accounts were then unlocked, only to be locked again as the scamsters attempted a second round of scam messages.
Twitter security acknowledged the wide-ranging scam on Wednesday afternoon, confirming that they were disabling the tweeting ability of some accounts to prevent the scam messages.
You may be unable to Tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 15, 2020
Shares of Twitter fell 3% on the stock market in the wake of the security breach.
Justice Department Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google
On Tuesday morning the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc.’s Google, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The lawsuit accuses Google of engaging in monopolistic, anticompetitive practices to tighten their stranglehold on the search and search advertising market.
In the words of the WSJ report, the company is “maintaining its status as gatekeeper to the internet through an unlawful web of exclusionary and interlocking business agreements that shut out competitors.” Google also allegedly uses billions of dollars in ad revenue to pay smartphone manufacturers, carriers, and browsers, so that they “maintain Google as their preset, default search engine.”
Many have been eagerly awaiting this move for some time. Big League Politics published an article five months ago on the Justice Department’s intention to file an antitrust suit against the tech giant:
Despite the Wuhan virus pandemic making work complicated for the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr has allocated significant resources into the Google investigation and continues to place it as a top priority. Barr told The Wall Street Journal in March that he wanted the Justice Department to make a final decision this summer. “I’m hoping that we bring it to fruition early summer,” Barr said during the time. “And by fruition I mean, decision time.”
Paxton said the pandemic was not preventing his office from pursuing further action. “We’ve issued [civil subpoenas] to Google and impacted third parties. We hope to have the investigation wrapped up by fall,” Paxton declared in a statement. “If we determine that filing is merited we will go to court soon after that.”
Google responded to the lawsuit saying, “Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to—not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives. We will have a fuller statement this morning.”
It’s about time we see one of these Big Tech behemoths get challenged in court. Hopefully this represents a first step in the government going after Silicon Valley in general.
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