Twitter Locks Down Many Verified Accounts As Barack Obama, Joe Biden And Other High Profile Accounts Hacked

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UPDATE: Twitter said that most users could go back to tweeting, after a hack of high profile accounts forcing it to shut down functions as it tried to solve the problem.

“Most accounts should be able to Tweet again. As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible,” the company’s support team tweeted.

As it investigated the hack, many users who have verified accounts, or those with blue check marks, were unable to post. Some journalists began posting via unverified accounts.

Twitter has not yet said how hackers were able to penetrate the accounts of a range of famous names, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

PREVIOUSLY, 2:44 PM ET: Twitter said that users may be unable to tweet as they review what appeared to be a major hack on Wednesday of accounts of a range of high profile figures, including Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk and Bill Gates.

“We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly,” Twitter said in a statement from its support account. “You may be unable to Tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident.” The lockdown of accounts appeared to apply to many verified accounts, or ones with blue checkmarks, including those to prominent individuals and journalists. Not all of those with such accounts were unable to tweet, but some users went on unverified accounts to comment on the situation.

Jeff Bezos, Kanye West and others were also targeted in what appeared to be a bitcoin scam, as messages were posted to their accounts asking users to send them money.

Corporate accounts also were hacked, including those belonging to Uber and Apple. The hack also hit accounts of Warren Buffett and Mike Bloomberg, as it seems to have been aimed at some of the highest profile figures on the platform.

The messages were along the same lines: “I am giving back to the community. All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back and doubled! If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000. Only doing this for 30 minutes.” The message was followed by a bitcoin address.


A Biden campaign official said, “Twitter locked down the account immediately following the breach and removed the related tweet. We remain in touch with Twitter on the matter.”

In some cases, like with Elon Musk’s account, tweets were removed from accounts and then would reappear again.

Wired reported that all of the messages appeared to load back to the same digital wallet, and that the hackers had earned over $100,000 through the afternoon. The site reported that the hack appears to have started with the accounts of several major players in cryptocurrency.

Twitter’s stock price was down more than 3% in after-hours trading.

In a statement, Uber said, “Like many others, our @Uber account was hit by a scammer today. The tweet has been deleted and we’re working directly with @Twitter to figure out what happened.”

Last August, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account was hacked, with perpetrators tweeting out racial slurs and a bomb threat. The messages were quickly removed.

The incident on Wednesday quickly drew attention on Capitol Hill, where Twitter and other tech platforms are under increased scrutiny for a host of issues including their security practices, spread of misinformation and perceived political biases.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), a frequent critic, fired off a letter to Dorsey, writing, “I am concerned that this event may represent not merely a coordinated set of separate hacking incidents but rather a successful attack on the security of Twitter itself.” He noted that some of the accounts allegedly had been protected by Twitter’s two factor authentication. He also asked Dorsey to respond to a series of questions about the platform’s security protocols, including, “Did this attack threaten the security of the President’s own Twitter account?”

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