Narendra Modi’s official Twitter account was “very briefly compromised”, his office confirmed early on Sunday, after a suspicious message naming bitcoin as India’s “legal tender” and offering a cryptocurrency giveaway was posted to his 73 million followers.
“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,” tweeted the prime minister’s office (PMO).
It is unclear how apparent hackers gained access to Mr Modi’s personal profile or for how long it was compromised. The social media giant said that the account “was not compromised due to any breach of Twitter’s systems”, reported the Indian Express.
“We have 24X7 open lines of communication with the PM’s office and our teams took necessary steps to secure the compromised account as soon as we became aware of this activity. Our investigation has revealed that there are no signs of any other impacted accounts at this time,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement.
Users flooded Twitter with screengrabs of the now-deleted tweet, which according to some had already been interacted with and retweeted several hundreds of times.
In the tweet put out in the small hours of Sunday morning, India time, Mr Modi appeared to be announcing that “India has officially adopted bitcoin as legal tender”.
It continued: “The government has officially bought 500 BTC and is distributing them to all residents of the country,” before sharing a link to what looks like a blog.
The Indian Computer Emergency Response System (Cert-In), a government cybersecurity agency, will launch a “full-scale investigation headed by a senior official,” reported the Indian Express citing sources at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
This is the second time that an account belonging to Mr Modi has seemingly been hacked with posts featuring links about cryptocurrency. In September last year, a less popular account associated with Mr Modi’s personal website – @narendramodi_in – sent out tweets asking followers to donate to a relief fund through cryptocurrency.
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