Pavel Durov, the founder and Chief Executive of the popular messaging app, Telegram has reportedly fallen victim to identity theft after took over a verified Twitter account as part of an elaborate cryptocurrency heist.
Durov posted a recent tweet on Saturday to notify his followers that Telegram was having some downtime caused by overheating server clusters. Unfortunately, the tweet presented an opportunity for hackers to pose as him so that they could achieve their objective. Rather than hacking into Durov’s Twitter account, they decided to hack into the Twitter account of a Swedish band called Club 8 whose account was verified.
The hackers changed the name of the band to the name of the CEO and also switched the avatars so that the account looked identical to that of Durov. They then used the hacked account to post promotional content through which they claimed to be giving away 500 Ethereum (ETC) coins and 1,000 Bitcoins (BTC). The fake announcement also featured two links for Bitcoin and Ethereum wallets belonging to the scammers.
The links were flagged by MetaMask but unfortunately, they had already managed to steal roughly 1 Bitcoin from unsuspecting cryptocurrency holders. The event led to the issuance of a notice advising users to be very vigilant and avoid interacting with scammers. Surprisingly this is not the first time that hackers have pretended to be Pavel Durov on Twitter so that they can steal cryptocurrencies from users by pretending to host cryptocurrency giveaways.
A similar attempt on March 29 this year led to the loss of cryptocurrencies worth $60,000. The fraudsters in this particular scam took advantage of a power blackout that affected Telegram servers. The scammers took an interesting approach in the recent heist because they managed successfully managed to hack into a verified Twitter account and cleverly changed the account details to make it almost identical to that of Durov.
The hackers managed to change the details while maintaining the verified mark so that they could trick unsuspecting Durov followers. Those with a discerning eye could tell between the Telegram CEO’s real account and the counterfeit one. The real Twitter account had the @durov handle after the name while the false one had the @club8music handle.
Scammers have recently been using such tactics to trick users on the social platform. Prominent people such as Elon Musk and Charlie Lee are some of the people whose Twitter accounts have been copied in such a manner.