A number of major Twitter accounts belonging to senior US politicians and tech billionaires including US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, former US President Barack Obama and Elon Musk fell victim to a “coordinated social engineering attack,” the social media platform confirmed on Wednesday.
Billionaire Bill Gates, rapper Kanye West, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Silicon Valley giants Apple and Uber were also targeted in the attack.
The affected Twitter accounts shared tweets asking for bitcoin donations. Most of the tweets were deleted shortly after they were posted.
In a tweet just before 6 p.m. ET, Twitter Support said it was “aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter,” and was investigating.
In an update just before 11 p.m. ET, Twitter said the platform had detected what it believes to be a “coordinated social engineering attack” by people who successfully targeted some of the company’s employees who had access to internal systems and tools.
“We know they used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf,” the tweet reads.
The platform said once it became aware of the incident, it began removing the tweets from the attackers and locking down the affected accounts.