Is anyone safe? Cybersecurity guru John McAfee says his Twitter account was hacked to skew virtual currency markets

Friday, December 29, 2017
By Paul Martin

Attackers used the platform to promote struggling cryptocurrencies
His mobile phone was jeopardised as well as his social media account
The one-time presidential candidate was quick to point out this is not a knock on his cyber-security reputation

29 December 2017

Hackers could have made off with thousands after taking control of a British cyber security tycoon’s Twitter account.

John McAfee, who made millions creating the popular McAfee anti-virus software, claims his Twitter account was compromised as part of an elaborate scam.

The 72-year-old believes cybercriminals used his account to promote lesser-known virtual currencies to his 550,000 followers.

The hackers used the resulting value spikes to sell off stakes of the digital currencies at sky-high prices.

Mr McAfee, who earlier this year announced he is developing ‘the world’s first truly private smartphone’, said his compromised mobile device does not reflect his cyber-security credentials.

Worth an estimated £3 million ($4 million), Mr McAfee has been a prominent figure in the rise of Bitcoin and other online currencies.

Earlier this month, he began to offer advice via Twitter on which of the more obscure virtual currencies people should invest in via a ‘coin of the day’ suggestion.

These recommendations often caused a spike in their prices.

Mr McAfee took to the social media site on Wednesday to explain how he believes his phone and account were compromised as hackers attempted to use his platform to skew digital currency markets.

He tweeted: ‘Urgent: My account was hacked. Twitter has been notified. The coin of the day tweet was not me. As you all know… I am not doing a coin of the day anymore!!!!’

According to Cryptovest, the haux tweets caused a surge in popularity of the listed currencies and saw their value soar for a short period of time.

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