Bureau Report + Agencies
NEW DELHI/ NEW YORK: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal Twitter account has been “very briefly compromised,” the prime minister’s office has said.
A swiftly deleted tweet from his main @narendramodi handle declared India had adopted Bitcoin as legal tender and was distributing the cryptocurrency to citizens.
The matter was escalated to Twitter and the prime minister’s personal Twitter handle was immediately secured, Modi’s office wrote in a tweet late on Saturday.
Any tweet shared during the brief period when the account was compromised must be ignored, it said.
It was not immediately known how long the personal Twitter handle of Modi, which has more than 73 million followers, was compromised.
Twitter users grabbed screenshots of the since-deleted tweet.
A Twitter spokesperson said in an emailed statement to media that the company took all necessary steps to secure the compromised account as soon as it became aware of the activity. An investigation revealed no signs of any other affected accounts, the spokesperson added.
Modi’s account was previously briefly compromised in September 2020, when hackers asked followers in a series of tweets to donate to India’s National Relief Fund through cryptocurrency.
Several Twitter accounts of prominent personalities were hacked in July 2020, including United States presidential candidate Joe Biden, former US President Barack Obama and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and were used to solicit digital currency.
Two teenagers and a 22-year-old were charged with the hacking, according to the US Department of Justice.
After stealing employee credentials and getting into Twitter’s systems, the hackers were able to target other employees who had access to account support tools, the company said.
The hacks led to bogus tweets being sent out on July 15 from the accounts of Obama, Biden, Musk and a number of tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Celebrities Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, were also hacked.
The tweets offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.