How A Crypto Scam On Twitter Was Picked Up By Media Covering Tesla

A reporter mistook a scammer’s tweets for the genuine article, attributing quotes about a fake giveaway to Elon Musk.

Scams on Twitter have become so rampant they have embedded themselves into the fabric of the platform.

Take for example a recent story published by Sky News about billionaire Elon Musk who sent work engineers to aid in the rescue of twelve boys and their coach, who have been stranded within a network of caves in Thailand for over two weeks. In the Sky News report a seemingly innocuous reference is made to Musk tweeting about a Tesla giveaway. There’s a catch however: the giveaway was a tweet made by an account posing as Elon Musk (@elonrrusk?)and links to an outright scam.

This tweet has been removed by Twitter, so it no longer appears in the article.

The Sky News article has since been edited to remove the reference, but not before it was caught by a member of the Twitter community:

Before the correction went live, Sky News unwittingly lent legitimacy to a scammer because the facts weren’t properly checked before publication. What’s more, Sky News has a sizable audience on Twitter, boasting 4.67 million followers, helping to drive traffic to their news site.

Now, if the reporter at Sky News had used Cryptonite, the browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, they would have noticed something about the scammer’s tweets right away that would have set them apart from those of the official Elon Musk Twitter handle. That’s because a scammer’s Twitter account won’t have the official green shield certifying a verified status by the MetaCert Protocol, the threat intelligence system that powers Cryptonite.

The Cryptonite shield remains black on unverified accounts and shows Elon’s verified account as green.

Cryptonite also would have blocked the phishing site the scammer’s tweet links to.

As things are now, it’s good that Sky News caught the error and made necessary edits to their story. Hopefully this will be a lesson for editors to scrutinize the source of Tweets more closely.

The MetaCert Protocol is a trust and reputation threat intelligence system for verifying web resources. It addresses a number of attack vectors, encompassing solutions for anti-phishing, child safety, brand protection, crypto-address verification, and news credibility. Find out more about the MetaCert Protocol, ask questions, and leave suggestions on both our White Paper and Technical Paper. You can also join our Telegram community to stay up to date on our blockchain project. Remember to install Cryptonite to protect yourself from phishing scams before it’s too late.