Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Twitter account of Philippine Statistics Authority compromised

At a little past 1:00pm on Saturday, April 17, the official Twitter account of the Philippine Statistics Authority was compromised, with the account renamed to “Eıoṉ̲ Muʂⱪ ̲̲ … 🏐”, a reference to tech billionaire Elon Musk.

The account then began replying to the real Musk’s official Twitter account with messages directing viewers to visit a fake Elon Musk cryptocurrency giveaway scam website, followed by numerous repetitions of the following, appended with random strings of letters which were possibly placed in to avoid triggering Twitter’s bot and spam filters.

  • “Make sure you’re logged in to with the correct Twitter account. You can check the account you’re logged in with by clicking the gear icon If the displayed account is correct, try refreshing the page.”
  • “ng to take you out, think this big chills in texas is a good shout if you ever wanted too. Fair fair well I’m trying to take you out, think this big chills in London is a good shout if you ever wanted too”
  • “Tweets are publicly visible by default, but senders can restrict message delivery to only their followers. Users can mute users they do not wish to interact with and block accounts from viewing their tweets. Users can tweet via the Twitter website”

Over the past year, Musk has been tweeting about cryptocurrencies and Dogecoin, helping boost cryptocurrency valuations.

Shortly before 2pm, the PSA Twitter account became disabled.

The original name and profile picture of the account were eventually restored, but with the scam and spam messages still present. At around 3pm, the scam and spam messages were deleted.

With the values of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin skyrocketing, Internet users need to take extra caution when they see these keywords as cryptocurrency scams are also very much on the rise.

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The author is a Web developer, member of the Consortium on Democracy and Disinformation, and board member of Democracy.Net.PH, an ICT rights, governance, development, policy, and security advocacy group.

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