The accounts, along with those of former President Barack Obama, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Mike Bloomberg, released similar tweets on Wednesday asking for donations for their verified profiles through Bitcoin.
“Everyone is asking me to give something back, and now it’s time,” said Gates’ tweet, promising to double all payments to a Bitcoin address for the next 30 minutes.
Just over an hour after the attack started, Twitter appears to have moved to prevent verified account holders from tweeting. A CNN test found that unverified accounts can still tweet.
The sheer number of celebrity accounts affected probably made it the biggest security incident in Twitter history. Such a hack affects not only a possible financial fraud, but also because so many leading politicians in the world use Twitter – and some, like President Donald Trump, use it to announce important political decisions. A hack that took over an account from one of these leaders could have devastating consequences.
Last year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account was hacked, raising concerns about whether an account on the platform can really avoid compromise. The mechanism by which this hack took place has been fixed by Twitter after Dorsey’s hack, and there’s no reason to assume that this is to blame.
A campaign agent for Biden said Twitter immediately “blocked” his account. “We will stay in touch with Twitter on this matter,” added the adjutant.
“We can confirm that this tweet was not sent by Bill Gates,” a Gates spokesman told CNN Business. “This appears to be part of a bigger problem that Twitter is facing. Twitter is aware of this and is working to restore the account.”
The White House declined to comment on whether it was concerned that the President’s account may be affected or whether it was in contact with Twitter because of the problem.
Within minutes of the tweets’ release, a Bitcoin account that appeared in some of them showed more than 320 transactions and received more than $ 113,000.
This is an evolving story. Look back for more …
CNN’s Sarah Mucha contributed to this report.