Indian prime minister the latest victim of crypto scam Twitter hack

A cybercrime group named ‘John Wick’ has taken responsibility for the attack.

Hackers took over one of the Twitter accounts linked to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and posted messages asking his followers to make crypto donations.

According to a report from news outlet India Today, Modi's Twitter account narendramodi_in, which is associated with his personal website and mobile app, was targeted by a group of hackers operating under the alias ‘John Wick.’

Several Tweets were posted on Sept. 2 telling the prime minister’s 2.5 million followers to ”donate generously to PM National Relief Fund for Covid-19.” At least two wallet addresses for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) were visible for some time before being taken down. However, according to blockchain data, no funds were sent to either address.

“Now India begin with crypto currency. Kindly Donate Bitcoin.”

The group that claimed responsibility for the breach by posting its email address, also explicitly stated it did not hack e-commerce marketplace Paytm Mall. An account claiming to represent the hackers bragged about gaining access to Paytm Mall in a Russian online forum. However, parent company Paytm has denied any data was compromised in the Aug. 30 breach.

Source: India Today

Modi is not the only world leader to be targeted by hackers seeking some form of crypto payout.

On July 15, at least 130 high-profile Twitter accounts — including those of U.S. President Barack Obama and former VP Joe Biden — were taken over by bad actors who offered their millions of followers a fake 2-to-1 ‘giveaway’ for any Bitcoin sent. Authorities have arrested the alleged mastermind, 17-year-old Graham Ivan Clark, along with two other individuals connected to the attack. A fourth hacker is under investigation.

More recently, scammers used Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez’s name to promote a fake Bitcoin-related investment system. The scheme targets the country’s most vulnerable citizens seeking economic relief in the midst of the pandemic.

Indian courts lifted a blanket ban on cryptocurrency trading in March, prompting a surge in the number of exchanges in the country. However, last month an Indian government official claimed that two ministries and the Reserve Bank of India were actively working on a legal framework to ban cryptocurrencies on the subcontinent.