The British Army’s official Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts were breached on Sunday for almost four hours, with scammers promoting rip-off nonfungible token (NFT) collections and cryptocurrency scams.
Just after 2:00 pm EST on Sunday, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD) Press Office tweeted it was aware the Army’s social media accounts were compromised and had begun an investigation.
Nearly four hours later, close to 5:45 pm EST, the Office provided an update that the account breaches were resolved. The British Army's official Twitter account also apologized for the posts, saying it would conduct an investigation and “learn from this incident.”
The breach of the Army’s Twitter and YouTube accounts that occurred earlier today has been resolved and an investigation is underway.— Ministry of Defence Press Office (@DefenceHQPress) July 3, 2022
The Army takes information security extremely seriously and until their investigation is complete it would be inappropriate to comment further.
Screenshots of the British Army’s official Twitter account posted by users show the hackers promoting at least two fraudulent derivatives of The Possessed and BAPESCLAN NFT collections.
One screenshot shows the hackers pinning a tweet to a fake mint of The Possessed NFT collection, likely a phishing link that would drain user funds if their crypto wallet was connected. Tom Watson, one of the collection’s creators, warned that the information was fake and asked his followers to report the account.
Over on YouTube, the hackers rebranded the account to resemble the Cathie Wood-founded investment firm Ark Invest, posting livestream videos of supposed interviews with Elon Musk and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey which were being watched by thousands of people.
the British Army's YouTube page, still under the control of some crypto scammers, is running 4 consecutive livestreams with approx 19,000 people watching as we speak. would be interesting if any of them who fall for the scam could have grounds to sue the Army pic.twitter.com/oVWrDsXKZ1— Señor Rules (@wariotifo) July 3, 2022
On the commandeered YouTube channel, the posted videos presented QR codes for viewers to send crypto to, claiming they would receive double back, and promoted other cryptocurrency giveaway scams through QR codes.
It’s unknown at this time who was behind the attack, how they achieved it and how many people may have fallen victim to the phishing and scam links. All of the links, tweets and related material from the account breaches have since been deleted by the British Army.
As reported by Cointelegraph, as much as $1 billion has been lost to crypto scammers in 2021, with nearly 50% of all crypto-related scams coming from social media platforms. The United States Federal Trade Commission even labeled social media and crypto a “combustible combination for fraud.”
In late May, the Twitter account of NFT artist Beeple was compromised and posted links to a phishing website which netted the attacker over $438,000 in crypto and various NFTs. The links were made to look like a “surprise mint” of a new Beeple NFT collection.
Later in June, a similar stealth mint phishing link was posted on the compromised Twitter account of the upcoming Duppies NFT collection, with at least one victim losing 650 Solana (SOL), worth around $18,850 at the time.