A tweet went viral on November 6, 2018, as a verified account with Twitter handle “@patheuk,” the official account of a UK-based film studio Pathé UK, posted Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC) giveaways, claiming to be Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, however this all seems to have been a ruse. The con artist impersonated the real Elon Musk account, and then issued a promoted advertisement for the fraudulent giveaways on Twitter.
These type of scams are not new to the social media platform. While the company claims to be continually working on solving these issues, many have criticized their accomplishments at the time. The sheer amount of scams had even forced a cooperation between Elon Musk and Jackson Palmer, the creator of Dogecoin, in an attempt to keep his feed clean from scams.
At the time of cooperation, Palmer stated:
“Update: Elon has the script. We had a good chat on how [Twitter CEO] Jack and the Twitter team should definitely automate and fix this problem on their end though.”
The Twitter team did seem to have solved many of the issues concerning these scams and their ties to public figures for a time. However, this new scam just exposed another security exploit, as the hacker group were able to utilize the official account of Pathé UK to impersonate as Elon Musk. The current issue revolves around that of promoted advertisements. The current algorithm can vet out scams on the standard feed, however if it is promoted, then the ad needs to be addressed manually.
As the scam had passed the vetting stage, the ad has received 0.4 BTC, amounting to almost $3,000.
In response to the hack, Pathe UK, who is the account holder of @patheuk posted that the account of the company was compromised:
“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.”