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.
It said the Indian government had officially bought 500 Bitcoins and was “distributing them to all residents of the country”, along with a scam link.
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.
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.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) December 11, 2021
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.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi twitter account hacked? pic.twitter.com/VyTNd2FDSr
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) December 11, 2021
A Twitter spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Reuters news agency 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.