‘Hack’ of UK cabinet minister’s Twitter account changes profile picture to Elon Musk

Education secretary Gillian Keegan’s account was completely altered, with profile picture showing Elon Musk

The Twitter account of the British education secretary appears to have been hacked. The profile picture was changed to one showing Elon Musk and several tweets were posted promoting a cryptocurrency event.

On Christmas Day the account of Gillian Keegan, the MP for Chichester, replied to a number of tweets with links to a website advertising cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and dogecoin.

On Sunday evening the account posted a spate of tweets, suggesting the security had been compromised. By Monday all reference to Keegan in her Twitter name, her biography, photograph and banner had been removed.

In a tweet reply to YouTuber MrBeast, Keegan’s account posted: “Don’t let it get away! It’s gonna be awesome!” It was accompanied by a link purporting to advertise a “giveaway” for the “crypto community”.

In a reply to a tweet by Musk, the new owner of Twitter, words on the account said: “Thank you for another great year! This feels a lot like Christmas. Don’t miss guys!! BREAKING NEWS 4 Christmas.”

In other tweets the account described people who own the cryptocurrency dogecoin, once backed by Musk, as “a #dogecoin warrior fighting for the future!”

The cryptocurrency, which launched as a joke in 2013, soared in value earlier this year after Musk promoted it by saying it could be used to buy Tesla merchandise.

The tweets on Keegan’s account began appearing shortly before 7.30pm on Christmas Day, and were sent throughout the evening into the early hours on Boxing Day.

Last month the Commons speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, wrote to MPs advising them to ramp up security on their mobile phones with multi-factor verification, as well as update software and delete old messages.

The warning came after Liz Truss’s phone was reportedly hacked by Russians in the summer when she was foreign secretary and frontrunner in the Tory leadership race.

Hoyle’s letter to MPs, which included 10 security tips, said: “You may not feel able to do everything on this list, but the more you do the less likely your personal information and mobile phone will be compromised, or the less damaging the consequences if you are hacked.”

In July, the British army’s Twitter and YouTube accounts also were reportedly hacked, with posts promoting NFTs – non-fungible tokens or digital artworks – and a purported interview with Musk about cryptocurrency.

Musk has been vocal previously about his commitment to stamping out false and spam users on the social media platform.


Jessica Murray

The GuardianTramp

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