Hackers Target India’s Prime Minister

The personal Twitter account of India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, has been attacked by cyber-criminals.

Hackers compromised the leader’s social media account in the early hours of December 11 to tweet a message to his more than 73 million followers.

The brazen hackers posted a tweet falsely claiming that India would be adopting Bitcoin as its official currency. The lies didn’t end there, as the threat actors went on to falsely state that the Indian government had bought 500 Bitcoin tokens and would soon be “distributing them to all residents of the country.”

At the end of the fake tweet was a link to a malicious website designed to appear as though it was part of a huge Bitcoin giveaway promotion.

Shortly after the delusive crypto-currency tweet appeared, it was deleted from the prime minister’s feed.

The fake tweet went against a statement made in late November by India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, that said India had no plans to recognize Bitcoin as a currency in the country. 

Following the attack, the Office of the Prime Minister of India issued a tweet asking Modi’s Twitter followers to disregard any communications shared by the perpetrators.

It read: “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.”

A Twitter spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that it had secured Modi’s account “as soon as we became aware of this activity.” Twitter said no other accounts were compromised in the incident.

The attack does not appear to have been carried out by the exploitation of a vulnerability in Twitter’s cybersecurity defenses, as the company said that its IT systems had not been compromised in the incident. 

The identities of the hackers are currently unknown. An investigation into the Twitter hack has been launched by the police in India. 

In a previous hack of Modi’s Twitter account, which occurred in September 2020, hackers asked the PM’s followers to donate to India’s National Relief Fund using crypto-currency.