Security

SEC’s Twitter account hacked to say Bitcoin ETFs approved. Politicians and lawyers demand investigation into security breach

The official Twitter account of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was hacked yesterday, with scammers posting an unauthorised message to its 660,000+ followers.

The false message – which has since been deleted – claimed that the SEC had approved the listing and trading of spot bitcoin ETFs, and caused the market price of Bitcoin to immediately jump to nearly US $48,000.

The tweet was accompanied by an image quoting SEC chairman Gary Gensler about the “approval”. ¬†Frankly, there wasn’t much about the tweet which would have raised suspicion amongst the typical Twitter user – even those who would consider themselves more security-savvy.

To add an additional twist to the story, for weeks traders have been speculating that the SEC will approve exchange-traded funds that track the value of Bitcoin this week – perhaps even today.

However, posting from his own Twitter account, Gensler confirmed that the news was false, no decision had been announced, and the SEC’s official account had been hacked.

“The @SECGov Twitter account was compromised, and an unauthorized tweet was posted,” wrote Genseler. “The SEC has not approved the listing and trading of spot bitcoin exchange-traded products.”

Once it had regained control of its account, which happened with notable speed compared to typical Twitter account breaches, the SEC confirmed on its official account that it had been compromised, using the same wording as its chairman.

As the truth emerged, the price of Bitcoin slipped back down again, potentially causing some investors to have suffered financial losses.

Ever opportunistic, at least one scammer created a fake SEC account on Twitter where they published an apology for the incident, and invited anyone who had lost money as a consequence of the hack to visit a refund site – which was, of course, itself a scam.

If any other organisation had posted a message which had caused the financial markets to move up and down so dramatically, they would be expected to be investigated for market manipulation.

Who would do such an investigation into market manipulation?  Well, that would be the job of the SEC itself.

The irony isn’t lost on anyone, as we wait and see if the SEC announces that it will be investigating itself over the incident…

US politicians and lawyers are already demanding that there is a thorough investigation into what went wrong.

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