Swedes on Monday woke up to the news that the Twitter account of the country’s largest political party and the party currently holding the premiership, the Social Democrats, had been taken over by a hacker who used the short-lived opportunity to publish fake bitcoin news, according to Sveriges Television AB.
Among other things the hijacked Twitter account declared that bitcoin had become Sweden’s national currency:
We have abolished the Swedish krona and replaced it with Bitcoin, time to buy!
The name of the Twitter account was also changed from Socialdemokraterna to ‘Bitcoin Democrats’.
The hackers also went a step further and edited the Social Democrats’ party symbol to include the Bitcoin logo.
They also changed the name of the account from Socialdemokraterna to ‘Bitcoin Democrats’.
Social Democrats Take Back Account
The political party has since then resumed control of the Twitter account and deleted the tweets sent by the hijackers.
Under natten kapades vårt Twitter-konto. Tweets och meddelanden som skickats från kontot under natten har inte skickats av (S). Vid pressfrågor ring: 08-700 26 83
— Socialdemokraterna (@socialdemokrat) April 15, 2019
It is not clear whether the Twitter account which boasts of over 84,000 followers had an impact on bitcoin’s price given the attempt at ‘pumping’. When the account was in the hands of the hacker(s), bitcoin stayed relatively stable in the $ 5,040 to 5,280 range.
Other than the false bitcoin proclamation the hijackers also used the opportunity to spread other fake news. This included tweeting that cannabis had become legalized in Sweden. Additionally, they also tweeted that the current Prime Minister Stefan Lofven had resigned to join the military. The hijackers also posted anti-immigrant tweets.
Was it a Bitcoin Scam or Just Political Mischief?
While Swedish police have not yet revealed the motive of the hijackers, the goal of the hijackers seems not to have been to scam like in other similar incidences. Rather their aim appears to have been to embarrass while igniting controversy.
Last year, for instance, hackers took over Google’s Twitter account to promote a cryptocurrency giveaway scam. Specifically, the hackers targeted the Google G Suite’s Twitter account which had over 800,000 followers at the time. Like with all other similar crypto giveaway scams, the hijackers promised to send participants 10 times the amount of bitcoin they sent to ‘verify’ their address.
Other high-profile victims have included U.S. retailer Target as well as U.S. publishing firm Pantheon Books. In the case of the latter, hackers accessed the publisher’s Twitter account and changed the name to Elon Musk, one of the personalities regularly used by crypto giveaway scams as bait.