The official Twitter account of Prime Minister Narendra Modi fell prey to a hacking attempt in the early hours of Sunday. The issue came to light after the PM’s official account on Twitter, @narendramodi, tweeted out at 2.24 am on December 12 saying the country “has officially adopted bitcoin as legal tender.”
“India has officially adopted bitcoin as legal tender. The government has officially bought 500 BTC and is distributing them to all residents of the country,” the hacked account’s tweet read. Multiple screenshots of this tweet, which has since been deleted, have appeared on the social networking site within seconds of its posting.
The tweet, after Modi’s personal handle was hacked in the small hours, also claimed that India has officially bought 500 BTC and is distributing them among its residents and shared a link, asking people to hurry up.
The future has come today, it said.
Many users were quick to point out the possibility of a hack though there was confusion about the news itself, given the PM’s affinity towards delivering shock news at dramatic hours. Decisions about the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and the recent Covid 19 lockdowns were delivered in a similar dramatic fashion, albeit through television.
The Prime Minister’s Office within an hour responded and issued a clarification regarding the hack. The verified Twitter account of PMO, @PMOIndia, tweeted out saying PM Narendra Modi’s Twitter account ‘was briefly compromised.’
“The Twitter handle of PM @narendramodi was 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,” said the PMO’s clarification on the micro-blogging site.
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
The latest hack of the PM’s Twitter account follows last year’s hacked post on another official account of his, @narendramodi_in, that asked his followers to donate bitcoin to the PM National Relief Fund for Covid 19.
The tweet by @narendramodi_in, which is linked to the PM’s website, then read, “I appeal to you all to donate generously to PM National Relief Fund for Covid-19, Now India begin with cryptocurrency. Kindly Donate Bitcoin…” This, too, was followed by a probe by Twitter.
On Sunday, some like Youth Congress president Srinivas B V took a jibe as he tweeted while posting the screenshot of the now-deleted tweet, “Good Morning Modi ji, Sab Changa Si?”
Modi’s accounts are not alone in being targeted by hackers for pushing bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, as handles of several noted public personalities, including Barack Obama and Bill Gates besides those from other fields like entertainment, have been targeted in the past.
India, it may be noted, has taken a tough stand on cryptocurrencies.
Modi has been vocal in highlighting the risks associated with crypto, including at the recent democracy summit hosted by US President Joe Biden, and in his internal meetings with government officials The government has expressed concern that cryptocurrencies may be used for luring investors with misleading claims and for funding terror activities and money laundering.
It is likely to bring a law to deal with the issue.
(With PTI Inputs)
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