Crypto hackers heavily promoted a fake airdrop event of the Ripple (XRP) stablecoin in India, after they hacked the Twitter account of News24. The Hindi news channel, that has over 1.4 million followers on Twitter, was breached during the early hours of Tuesday, March 21. Soon after, posts advertising the fake crypto airdrop began appearing on @News24TvChannel. These posts also showed malicious links for unsuspecting victims to click on and expose themselves to financial risks.
The cyber criminals added pictures of Ripple CEO Brad Galinghouse to their scam posts, in order to make them appear legitimate and serious.
While News24 seems to have regained control over its Twitter handle now, screenshots of the scam posts that showed on its profile have been shared by others on the micro-blogging app.
As of now, it remains unclear, if any of the followers of News24 did engage with the infected links. The channel has not put out any official word regarding the incident in the public domain, hence, there is no clarity so far if the channel has brought the issue under the notice of investigative authorities.
For now, no posts promoting any crypto airdrops are visible on the Twitter page of the TV news channel.
This is the second Ripple-focussed digital vandalism on Twitter to have made it to the headlines this March in India. On March 2, the Twitter handle of Raj Bhavan, the governor of Madhya Pradesh state was breached by crypto scammers. Fake Ripple airdrop posts, featuring Galinghouse’s pictures were published by the hackers on Bhavan’s account as well at the time.
Ripple scammers also garnered access to the Twitter handle of the Indian embassy in Oman to facilitate fake XRP airdrop ads hoping to lure victims in and drain their crypto holdings, a U.Today report said.
Tech experts have time and again suggested individuals as well as companies to spend on safeguarding their digital ecosystems as well as devices to prevent high-tech hackers from attacking them and causing them financial damages.
Scammers have adopted sophisticated tactics, and have begun using copycat websites, hacked verified accounts, as well as promises of fake projects and airdrops to lure unsuspecting victims into their traps via Twitter.
In June, the FBI had revealed that crypto fraudsters have been posing as professional financial advisors and reaching out to LinkedIn users, offering them scam schemes. As per a CNBC report, a bunch of LinkedIn users have seen losses ranging from $200,000 (roughly Rs. 1.5 crore) and $1.6 million (roughly Rs. 12 crore) owing to crypto scams.
In India, Twitter accounts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), and the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) have been breached previously by crypto scammers to advertise scams.