By hacking Twitter account of the cybersecurity expert John McAfee, online criminals made a lot of money on promotion of several alternate cryptocurrencies.
On Dec. 28 a series of Tweets was posted on the page of the cybersecurity expert John McAfee. There such cryptocurrencies as PTO, BAT, NXT and SC were promoted. All the coins immediately touted rise in value, since the followers trusted the Tweets.
The backstory of this situation is very simple. McAfee used to post a ‘Coin of the day’ review on his page. He characterized under this heading the cryptocurrencies he thought could be somehow promising. And also he had been making predictions about their future rate growth. McAfee’s daily recommendations helped people to invest money properly, so they didn`t loose their savings. The opinions of the expert were not promoted or biased, he had written entirely honest reviews. And that is what the hackers took advantage of.
According to the McAfee`s words, the hackers made a lot of money in the process.
“What the hacker did was to recommended six different coins within six minutes and invested, I’m sure, much money beforehand into those.”
McAfee`s weak spot turned out to be his mobile phone. The hacker gained the access to the account of the founder of computer security company by changing his phone number to request a new password. Such a thing was possible, since the criminals also hacked AT&T Inc., which is the second largest provider of mobile services in the USA. The hackers moved McAfee’s number to another phone and set a new password. During the next few days McAfee had no access to his account.
In his opinion, AT&T Company could have been bribed. That is an alternative view, how the fraud could have been possible possible. And there is the reason to think so:
“The hackers may have made millions of dollars, which would easily compensate any bribe needed to carry out the attack.”
McAfee explained, why such a situation could have happened. As he stated, he had no control over Twitter’s security. In that case he was a target for hackers who lost money and blame him for that. Furthermore, the cybersecurity expert warned people to be careful, since the hacking became more advanced.
After Twitter solved the problem John McAfee posted on his page Tweets with explanations and warnings.
“Urgent: My account was hacked. Twitter has been notified. The coin of the day tweet was not me. As you all know… I am not doing a coin of the day anymore!”
Also, the cybersecurity expert made several predictions, what could be the next target for the cyber attack. In his opinion, the most vulnerable points are the cryptocurrency exchanges, since billions of dollars in cryptocurrency are held there.
There is no point to hack private wallets if there is such a big amount of money concentrated in one place. Furthermore, ordinary people don’t have wallets or just prefer to keep money on the exchanges.
McAfee reminded about the Bitcoin exchange closed in 2014 because of the bankruptcy caused by a massive hacker attack. At that time 850,000 bitcoins ($460 mln at the time) have been stolen from the exchange. The incident still serves as a reminder for many startups in the Bitcoin industry about the necessity of adequate security measures.
As McAffee stated, it’s better everyone learn some information about safety measures in case of a hacker attack.