The crypto and NFT side of Twitter are flooding with scams. It only takes a few interactions to get your first “@Elonmusk_ started following you” notification. And if you ever reply to the tweet of a trader, dev, etc, then expect at least one of these fake bots asking you to ‘DM’ them.
Most users have noticed this pattern and find it obnoxious but know there’s a scam to avoid, so attackers have found a way to level up their fraud scheme.
The Blue Checkmarks NFT Hack Scheme
Like crypto reporter Laura Shin noticed, there are scam bots that have a Twitter verified checkmark and the name of an NFT project spamming away and promising airdrops.
What are these Twitter @verified accounts that keep spamming my mentions to promote NFT drops but then no crypto or NFT people follow them? This is bizarre. Just one example: pic.twitter.com/7Xb7slsEPB
— Laura Shin (@laurashin) April 18, 2022
If you have Shin’s investigative spirit, you might save yourself. But over the past weeks, others have not been so lucky. Usually, trusting the platform’s blue mark had been enough to confirm that tweets were legitimate.
Sneaky hackers are targeting verified users, hijacking their accounts, and stealing millions worth of NFTs from unlucky followers.
Reportedly, they have targeted many journalists, executives, and other professionals. One of the writers who got phished reported that she received a fake email that appeared to be from Twitter’s support team. It is unclear if this has been a common method used in other recent hacks.
However it is they are doing it, they proceed to rebrand the account as if they were devs, creators, or someone in charge of a popular NFT project. After it looks convincing enough, they tweet fake links and promise “secret airdrops”. This takes users to connect their Ethereum wallet, which soon gets their NFTs drained.
Some of the scams have camouflaged themself as NFT projects Moonbirds, Azuki, and ApeCoin.
Claims show that assets have also been stolen without connecting an Ethereum wallet. This might point to the users’ browser getting hacked, giving control of their computer to the attacker.
What Elon Musk Can Do
A Twitter user said what many are thinking: “Twitter [is] too busy fighting “misinformation” to worry about the massive botting / account theft problems it has.”
As Bitcoinist has explained before, in the U.S., Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act absolves liability for internet companies from third-party content published on their platforms. This means that Twitter INC is not liable for not stopping the scams that happen within the platform.
So more than ‘busy’, the company’s board is probably feeling carefree, since this activity cannot directly harm them. They have a bigger game to play.
Elon Musk’s intentions seem to be to flip that game and transform Twitter into a platform that meets with his morals and ideas about the future of civilization and democracy.
To many, it looks sketchy for the richest man in the world to want to buy out this company and claim it is not about economics.
Musk claims his top priority is to eliminate scamming and spambots. If Musk were to win the Twitter bid and stand by this promise, it could change the security and experience of many users.
“Is I had a Dogecoin for every crypto scam I saw, I’d had $100B more.”
Musk wants Twitter to have an open-source code, so it can be on GitHub for anyone to look through it, criticize it and suggest changes. He fully wants to change the black-box algorithm, which in his view compromises free of speech by the way it promotes and demotes certain tweets lacking transparency and clarity to users.
After the board targeted him with a ‘poison pill’ to protect themselves from the buyout, there are a few possible outcomes.
Other firms –like TRON founder Justin Sun, Private equity firm Thoma Bravo, and buyout firm Apollo Global Management– have expressed their intentions to participate in the Twitter bid.
Writer and podcast co-host Trung Phan compared the situation to a famous Delaware Supreme Court case from the mid-1980s called Revlon. v. MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, which also gave name to ‘The Revlon Rule’.
This legal principle states that “directors should act in the best interest of the shareholders, even if that means accepting the takeover,” the CFI explains.
It is not certain this is how the fight will play out, but if so “courts will have to compare offers to see which is the ‘highest price,'” Phan says.
Musk had said that he won’t go higher than his $54.20 offer, which seems to be already outbid by Justin Sun. No one knows what his alleged ‘plan B’ is, nor how other competitors and lawyers might alter the scene.