From the New York Times this morning:
"It was about 4 in the afternoon Wednesday on the East Coast when chaos struck online. Dozens of the biggest names in America — including Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Kanye West, Bill Gates and Elon Musk — posted similar messages on Twitter: Send Bitcoin and the famous people would send back double your money.
It was all a scam, of course, the result of one of the most brazen online attacks in memory.
"A first wave of attacks hit the Twitter accounts of prominent cryptocurrency leaders and companies. But soon after, the list of victims broadened to include a Who’s Who of Americans in politics, entertainment and tech, in a major show of force by the hackers.
"The Associated Press reported that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was also among those whose Twitter accounts were hacked.
"Twitter quickly removed many of the messages, but in some cases similar tweets were sent again from the same accounts, suggesting Twitter was powerless to take back control of the accounts.
":The company eventually disabled broad swaths of its service, including the ability of verified users to tweet, as it scrambled to prevent the scam from spreading further … The hackers did not use their access to take aim at any important institutions or infrastructure — instead just asking for Bitcoin. But the attack was concerning to security experts because it suggested the hackers could have easily caused much more havoc."
This is a developing story, with a lot of speculation about how and why it happened, who did it, and what the long-term implications might be … especially coming less than four months before a national election. Was it an isolated incident from a kind of lone gunman? Or something more insidious, a calculated effort to figure out how to drive our democracy into a bridge abutment?
Hopefully we'll find out in time to make sure it doesn't happen again, or at least mitigate the impact when it does - fighting disinformation with truth. Hopefully.