Early on Sunday, a tweet appeared on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s account announcing, out of the blue, that the country had adopted bitcoin as legal tender and would be distributing 500 coins, or $24 million at current market prices, to citizens. Sorry to rain on your parade cryptocurrency stans, but the post was fake.
Modi’s account, @narendramodi, was briefly hacked on Sunday to promote bitcoin and, presumably, steal data or scam a lot of people. The tweet included a link to what looks like a Blogspot website (incredibly sketchy) about the “Bitcoin giveaway,” and it encouraged people to hurry up and get their money (so many warning bells). However, Modi and his team managed to regain access to his Twitter account on Sunday and deleted the hacker’s message.
The Indian prime minister’s office said the account had been “briefly compromised” in a tweet on Sunday. The issue was subsequently escalated to Twitter and the account was immediately secured.
“In the brief period that the account was compromised, any Tweet shared must be ignored,” Modi’s office added.
Twitter told Gizmodo on Sunday that there were no signs any other accounts had been affected.
“We have 24/7 open lines of communication with the PM’s Office and our teams took necessary steps to secure the compromised account as soon as we became aware of this activity,” a Twitter spokesperson said. “Our investigation has revealed that there are no signs of any other impacted accounts at this time.”
The social media platform added that according to its investigation so far, it looks like Modi’s account had not been hacked due to any breach of Twitter’s systems. It also provided a link to Twitter’s best practices for keeping accounts safe.
Even though the tweet was coming from Modi’s account, it made no political sense given India’s tough stance on cryptocurrency. Modi himself said in late November that all democratic nations had to work together on cryptocurrency to “ensure it does not end up in wrong hands, which can spoil our youth,” according to CNBC.
Back in March, a report stated that the country was considering criminalizing the mining, trading, and holding of cryptocurrencies. Investors in India are currently waiting to learn more details about the country’s upcoming bill on cryptocurrency, which has not yet been introduced in its Parliament.