“We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools,” Twitter’s support team said late Wednesday.
The attackers posted tweets that appeared to promote a cryptocurrency scam.
The accounts, along with those of former President Barack Obama, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, and Mike Bloomberg, posted similar tweets soliciting donations via Bitcoin to their verified profiles on Wednesday.
“Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time,” Gates’ tweet said, promising to double all payments to a Bitcoin address for the next 30 minutes. All the tweets were subsequently deleted.
“Once we became aware of the incident, we immediately locked down the affected accounts and removed Tweets posted by the attackers,” Twitter said. “We have locked accounts that were compromised and will restore access to the original account owner only when we are certain we can do so securely.”