$274 000 USD

JANUARY 2022

INDIA

TWITTER

DESCRIPTION OF EVENTS

"The Indian Medical Association, with over 334,000 members, is a national voluntary organization of physicians in India. The Indian Council of World Affairs is the country's first independent international affairs think tank. And Mann Deshi Bank is a cooperative bank that aims to financially empower rural women in the country."

 

"The first fraudulent post following the account takeover of the Indian Medical Association appeared at 0155 hours, Indian Standard Time. The hacker, posing as Elon Musk, wrote: "We here at Tesla HQ came up with a nice idea: to hold a special airdrop event of 5000 BTC for all crypto fans!""

 

"Twitter Accounts of the Indian Medical Association, the Indian Council of World Affairs and Mann Deshi Mahila Bank were hacked last night, with the account being renamed as Elon Musk to lure people into fake crypto traps calling them gifts, stating “LOVE YOU GUYS!! MY GlFT HERE!!”."

 

"This was followed by hundreds of positive tweets being posted every other second - each one egging users to click on a Telegram link advertising giveaways of Bitcoins, Ether, Dogecoins and Shiba Inu coins."

 

"To entice users to send bitcoins, the scammers created fake discussion threads that show people earning 10 times the invested amount in 10 minutes."

 

"Dua tells Information Security Media Group that the IMA's Twitter account is locked and the association has not been able to regain access. He says it has made a request to unlock the account but has not received a response."

 

"Dua says the IMA received a message from Twitter informing it that the account was locked when Twitter detected suspicious activity. Three or four people in the IMA had access to the password of its official Twitter account, according to Dua."

 

"Tweets on these accounts were found to post content promoting cryptocurrency. The Elon Musk name was added using special characters, instead of actual text, and with ICWA, IMA and Mann Deshi Mahila Bank accounts being verified, anyone could have been easily fooled by this."

 

"At the time of writing this, both IMA and ICWA accounts no longer have the Elon Musk name or photo on them. However, the bad actors have bombarded the accounts with fake crypto tweets, and have even commented on Elon Musk’s posts to lure people. It looks like it will take some time for the accounts to go back to their original state."

 

"ISMG could not determine if the incidents of account compromise at the Indian Council of World Affairs and Mann Deshi Bank were the result of a hack or a case of compromised passwords, but it appears that all three Twitter accounts were targeted by the same bad actor, as a series of crypto scam content appeared on all three accounts." "CERT-IN, the IT security group of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, is looking into the matter."

 

"Sandip Kumar Panda, CEO and co-founder of Indian cybersecurity firm InstaSafe, tells ISMG that organizations are not paying enough attention to password management using multifactor authentication. "This is what happens when two or three people managing social media accounts gave access to the same password. And in all probability, the password might have been 'Welcome123.' Even script kiddies can crack easy passwords with brute-force attacks," he says."

 

"Although it is evident that the tweets promising bitcoin giveaways on the three targeted Twitter accounts were phony - "Elon Musk" is misspelled, and there is a gray tick in place of a blue tick - blockchain analytics site Blockchair shows that 31 victims sent a total of 5.75 bitcoins, or $273,848, to the fraudulent Bitcoin address."

The Indian Medical Association Twitter account was breached, with the attacker rebranding it to look like Elon Musk and offering a cryptocurrency giveaway. This was a standard giveaway that offered 10 times the amount sent in. No funds were actually provided to victims. It is believed that nothing was recovered for those affected, who lost 5.75 bitcoins or ~$274k USD in total.

Sources And Further Reading

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