On Thursday evening, the chief technology officer of OpenAI, Mira Murati, fell victim to a Twitter account hack that aimed to promote a deceptive cryptocurrency scheme.
According to timestamps on the tweets, around 6:03 p.m. Pacific Time, Murati lost control of her Twitter account, which then started endorsing a new cryptocurrency called “$OPENAI.” The tweets claimed that the cryptocurrency was driven by AI-based language models, capitalizing on OpenAI’s reputation as an AI research organization.
The unauthorized tweets urged Murati’s followers to send money to an Ethereum digital wallet address in order to receive free coins as part of an alleged initial coin offering. Although the tweets were swiftly deleted, they reappeared minutes later with slightly altered wording. The fraudulent tweets remained visible on Murati’s account for over 45 minutes. Her account has since been restored to its original state, with the misleading tweets removed.
This incident underscores the dangers associated with high-profile Twitter accounts being targeted by scammers who exploit the credibility and extensive following of such accounts to deceive people and extract money under false pretenses.
The apparent breach of Murati’s account occurred merely four months after Twitter implemented changes to its two-factor authentication policies. These changes eliminated SMS text messaging as a security option for account protection, unless users subscribe to the premium Twitter Blue service. Security experts have expressed concerns that these modifications could increase the vulnerability of high-profile accounts to unauthorized takeovers.
Murati’s Twitter account features a blue checkmark, indicating her subscription to Twitter Blue and potential access to SMS-based two-factor authentication. VentureBeat has reached out to OpenAI for a comment on the matter and will update the story accordingly.