The Twitter account of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has been hacked.
The hacker shared fake information about Bitcoin, inviting over 73.4 million followers to participate in the fake giveaway of 500 BTC.
Bitcoin scams via Twitter: the case of the Prime Minister of India
Over the weekend, the Twitter account of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was hacked. Here is the confirmation from the PM’s official:
The Twitter handle of PM @narendramodi was very briefly compromised. The matter was escalated to Twitter and the account has been immediately secured.
In the brief period that the account was compromised, any Tweet shared must be ignored.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) December 11, 2021
“The Twitter handle of PM Narendra Modi was very briefly compromised. The matter was escalated to Twitter and the account has been immediately secured. In the brief period that the account was compromised, any Tweet shared must be ignored”.
Despite the fact that shortly after the hack the unauthorized tweet was deleted, one user saved the image and shared it. Here’s the wording of the scam tweet:
Bitcoin scammers declare the cryptocurrency as India's legal tender. pic.twitter.com/uTe1R7XUWZ
— Priya (@supesuonna) December 11, 2021
“India has officially adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. The government has officially bought 500 BTC and is distributing them to all residents of the country. The future has come today!”
The tweet in question also showed a link to which unwary investors would have to sign up to claim their share of the BTC given away to them as Indian citizens.
The second hack attempt on Modi’s account
The present breach of Narendra Modi’s Twitter account does not appear to be the first time. Liberty House Group CEO Sanjeev Gupta pointed out the following:
2nd time a Twitter Handle related to PM gets hacked. Earlier, it was @narendramodi_in in September, 2020. https://t.co/uDL4KGZlZu. https://t.co/dXVb3thGUs claims vulnerability lies in common site https://t.co/2NMOOUPrUt. Time for action @AshwiniVaishnaw @GoI_MeitY @AdityaRajKaul pic.twitter.com/WMfFdpP37Q
— Sanjeev Gupta (@sanjg2k1) December 12, 2021
“2nd time a Twitter Handle related to PM gets hacked. Earlier, it was
@narendramodi_in in September, 2020. It is claimed that the vulnerability lies in common site http://narendramodi.in. Time for action Ashwini Vaishnaw, GoI_MeitY, AdityaRajKaul”.
In the first breach last September 2020, hackers allegedly requested an ETH donation on a particular Ethereum wallet address in the name of PM National Relief Fund for Covid-19.
Sanjeev Gupta’s tweet quotes Hacks and Security Administrator Sunny Nehra as saying that hackers, both times, managed to hack Modi’s Twitter by exploiting flaws in http://narendramodi.in and suggests that cybersecurity professionals intervene to test such websites for bugs.
The broader crypto situation in India
Late last month, a bulletin published on Lok Sabha, the official website of the Indian parliament, called The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, showed India’s intention to create a legislative situation that would facilitate the creation of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
Still under discussion, the bill also seeks to ban all private cryptocurrencies in India. However, it does allow some exceptions to promote the technology behind cryptocurrency and its uses.
Statements that have created some uncertainty about cryptocurrencies in India. Although both the Indian Prime Minister and the President of the central bank have always warned of the risks of crypto, many Indians have enthusiastically embraced cryptocurrencies.
An estimated 15 million Indians use or trade cryptocurrencies. And an increasing number of Indian crypto- and blockchain-related start-ups are emerging, also taking advantage of this legislative vacuum, with all the risks that this entails.