On December 12, in the wee hours of the morning, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official Twitter account displayed a post declaring the nation had formally adopted Bitcoin [BTC] as a legal tender, and that the administration had purchased 500 BTC to “distribute” to its citizens. The tweet also had a link to a blog, which read, “The future has come today”.
About an hour later, another Tweet emerged from the official handle of the Prime Minister’s Office [PMO] clarifying that the PM’s Twitter account was restored after it was “very briefly compromised” and that the incident had been raised with the social networking firm.
However, Twitter did not specify the exact time at which Modi’s account was breached and when they were notified about the matter. In addition to that, there was no response with regards to the time taken to bring down the fake post, and if the social platform deploys any extra level of security standards for major public accounts such as those of political leaders, governments heads, and others.
In the meantime, sources at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology [MoE&IT] revealed that the Indian Computer Emergency Response System (Cert-In) would be launching a “full-scale investigation headed by a senior official” and will submit its report to the government agency shortly.
India’s tryst with fake bitcoin scams
The latest news comes after the incident where the Twitter account belonging to the Prime Minister’s personal website and app had sent out Tweets asking for donations for the Prime Minister’s Covid relief fund through cryptocurrency, back in September 2020.
A similar mass breach took place in July last year, when the social accounts of several leading personalities such as former president of the US Barack Obama, present president of the US Joe Biden, singer and rapper Kanye West, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Tesla chief Elon Musk put out the same tweets asking people to deposit bitcoins on dubious links, promising double returns.
Even though several of these tweets were taken down, some of the accounts that were then compromised sent out these tweets again after some time, which indicates the severity of the attacks. Following the large-scale breach, Twitter said that ‘several of its employees who had access to internal systems had their accounts compromised in a coordinated social engineering attack, which resulted in the hack’.