Cryptocurrency Twitter scam

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Scammers impersonating tech billionaire, Elon Musk, and inventor of the ethereum cryptocurrency, Vitalik Buterin, have stolen thousands of pounds from Twitter users.

Scammers are using similar names and profile pictures to official Twitter accounts to trick unwitting Twitter users into sending small amounts of cryptocurrency, supposedly in return for larger amounts.

The Twitter messages prompt users to send “anywhere from 0.3 to 0.7 ETH” (ETH stands for ethereum, a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin), to “receive from 3 to 7 ETH”.

Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, explains the gulf between ease-of-use and security by design.

“With the best intentions in the world Twitter and indeed any of the social media companies will always struggle to combat this type of account fraud.

“The biggest hurdle in these instances is the very delicate balance between “ease of use” for the user and security: a much easier balance to design from the ground up and sadly not so easy to implement later in the design.

“Generally, humans want to trust each other, they want to believe what they see is true and it’s even harder when we are interacting with two dimensional devices.

“Of course the biggest elephant in the room here is the word “free”, nothing is ever free. We need to understand no company ever gave anything away for free, it has to generate money in one way or another.”

How have you learned to spot scams online? Let us know on Twitter @ESETUK.