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Indian Prime Minister’s Twitter Account Hacked, Fraudulent Bitcoin Tweets Posted

2 mins
Updated by Ryan James
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In Brief

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter account was hacked in the early hours of Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021
  • There were fraudulent tweets relating to bitcoin
  • The account was subsequently re-secured
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Indian investigators will conduct a full investigation of the security breach, following Twitter’s reluctance to divulge crucial details regarding the hack.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter account was hacked at around 2 am on Dec. 12, 2021. The hack was used to send fraudulent tweets that India will accept bitcoin as legal tender and that it has bought 500 BTC, which it intended to give away to its citizens. Modi’s private Twitter account has over 73 million followers. The tweet included a fraudulent link. The destination of the link is unknown.

Twitter declined to elaborate on the details of the hack and whether additional security is applied to the accounts of high-profile individuals. They did, however, say that Prime Minister Modi has a 24-7 communication channel open with Twitter. The Indian Computer Emergency Response System will launch a full investigation, the outcomes of which will be included in a report that will be handed to the Ministry of Electronics and Information of Technology.

The account was re-secured shortly after the attack, confirmed by the @PMOIndia account urged that followers to disregard tweets sent from Modi’s personal Twitter while the account was breached.

Indians very interested in crypto

Roughly 83% of urban Indians are aware of digital currencies, while only 16% own them. Certain Bollywood stars have also contributed toward the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies in India, with veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan creating his own NFTs and becoming an ambassador for India’s first cryptocurrency unicorn, CoinDCX.

Indian Government’s stance on crypto still under review

This hack comes as the Indian Parliament is debating the merits of a new cryptocurrency bill that would see private cryptocurrencies banned, but others allowed for the development of the technology. Prime Minister Modi’s account was previously compromised in Sep. 2020, when scammers asked Modi’s followers for cryptocurrency donations to be made to a Covid-19 Relief Fund.

Earlier this year, crypto pundits called for cryptocurrencies to be treated as commodities by Indian law. Later on, during the Winter Session of Parliament, the Indian Finance Minister made it clear that India will not recognize bitcoin as a currency. In their view, only a central bank issues digital currencies. This was echoed by the South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority commissioner recently when he said that the regulatory watchdog views cryptocurrencies as assets rather than currencies. India and South Africa have plans to launch their own CBDCs.

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...