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Business News/ Technology / News/  PM Modi's twitter account hacked ‘very briefly’; false claims on cryptos posted

PM Modi's twitter account hacked ‘very briefly’; false claims on cryptos posted

Modi’s Twitter handle was used by unknown attackers to publish a post that falsely claimed that India has adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (PTI)Premium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter handle @narendramodi, which is also linked to his website, was “very briefly compromised" on Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a post on Twitter.

“The matter was escalated to Twitter, and the account was immediately secured. In the brief period that the account was compromised, any Tweet shared must be ignored," the tweet said.

Modi has 73.4 million followers on Twitter, making him the 11th most followed handle on the social media platform.

The breach came to light when unknown hackers used Modi’s Twitter handle to publish a post that falsely claimed that India adopted bitcoin as legal tender and the government of India has bought 500 bitcoins to distribute among residents of the country.

Some Twitter users flagged the post as the government of India has clearly said that private cryptos will not be accepted as legal tender in the country.

The future of cryptos in India still hangs in the balance. It is expected to be decided in the ongoing winter session of Parliament when the government tables the Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021.

A Twitter spokesperson said, “We have 24X7 open lines of communication with the PM’s Office and our teams took necessary steps to secure the compromised account as soon as we became aware of this activity. Our investigation revealed there are no signs of any other impacted accounts at this time."

This is not the first time Modi’s Twitter handle has been compromised. In September 2020, the handle was breached by a threat actor that used the pseudonym John Wick. After the breach, Modi’s handle was used to urge the public to make generous donations in the form of cryptos to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund to fight covid-19.

Targeting of social media handles of high-profile individuals, including corporate and state heads, and using the brief access over them to solicit cryptocurrencies has become a fad among threat actors.

In July 2020, Twitter handles of more than 130 people, including US President Joe Biden, former US president Barack Obama, Tesla founder and chief executive officer Elon Musk and Microsoft founder Bill Gates were compromised.

The attackers used the compromised accounts to make false promises to double any bitcoin deposits made to a scam account. Hundreds of unsuspecting users were tricked, and deposits worth more than $100,000 were made into scam accounts, according to the US department of justice. However, within weeks of the incident, three people, including a teenager, were arrested and charged for identity theft and money laundering in the US.

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Abhijit Ahaskar
Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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Published: 12 Dec 2021, 06:00 PM IST
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