Breaking: Robinhood Twitter Hacked and Used to Promote Crypto Scam
Image courtesy of 123rf.

Breaking: Robinhood Twitter Hacked and Used to Promote Crypto Scam

For about an hour on January 25th, unidentified hackers hijacked Robinhood’s official Twitter account and tried to promote a cryptocurrency scam.
Neither the author, Tim Fries, nor this website, The Tokenist, provide financial advice. Please consult our website policy prior to making financial decisions.

Around 5 PM UTC, the Twitter account of the popular online broker Robinhood appeared to have been hacked. In multiple rounds, posts promoting the launch of a “new token” appeared before getting quickly deleted.

A screenshot of one of the posts Robinhood hackers used for promoting their scam.
A scam post promoting a “new Robinhood token”.

Robinhood Twitter Account Hacked to Promote Crypto Scam

On Wednesday, January 25th, Robinhood’s official Twitter account started promoting the launch of a “new token” on the Binance Smart Chain. The posts had the appearance of a relatively common scam and were being deleted almost as quickly as they were posted. About an hour after started, the unusual activity ceased, indicating the hack was contained.

A screenshot of one of the posts Robinhood hackers used for promoting their scam.
Another post the Robinhood hackers used when trying to promote their scam.

While no other Robinhood-linked social media account—like that of the company’s CEO or the @AskRobinhood—issued a statement on the incident at the time of writing, the firm did respond to one of the Tweets announcing the odd activity. According to the broker, they are “aware of the unauthorized posts” and “believe the source of the incident was via a third party vendor.”

Robinhood is an online broker that offers commission-free trading to retail investors. The platform rose to prominence during the height of the GameStop meme stock craze but faced a decline after it restricted trading in GME in late January of 2021. The decision lead to a staggering number of lawsuits filed mostly by disgruntled users.

Despite the setbacks and controversies, Robinhood is still a major platform with some estimates saying it has more than 20 million users. The broker has also been actively working to improve its offering, in early 2022, Robinhood announced plans to offer 24/7 trading to its users, and, after Elon Musk acquired Twitter, the social media platform integrated links to the online broker.

Join our Telegram group and never miss a breaking digital asset story.

Binance’s CZ Speaks Out On the Hack

While it took Robinhood several hours to address the incident, Binance’s CZ seemingly confirmed the activity was due to a hack within an hour. CZ also cautioned his followers to “have critical thinking even if the account looks or is real”.

The well-known digital sleuth ZackXBT uncovered that the scam was funded using Binance. The exchange’s CEO stated in response to the discovery that his company’s security team noticed already noticed the unusual activity and locked the associated account. ZackXBT also later revealed that he found the hackers made about $7,000 in the attack.

Posts promoting cryptocurrency scams aren’t too rare on Twitter but most follow a basic pattern. Usually, a scammer will change their username to the name of a famous individual or firm from the industry and comment on other people’s posts about an exciting new opportunity, the launch of a new coin, or the minting of a new NFT collection. The scammers will usually also make wild claims about potential returns in the thousands of percents attempting to trigger the so-called FOMO—the fear of missing out.

At one point, it wasn’t too uncommon to see dozens of accounts claiming to be Binance’s Changpeng Zhao promoting a fraudulent airdrop or a launch of a “new token” under most cryptocurrency-related posts on the social media platform. In most cases, however, the scam accounts could easily be identified by their handle and the recent creation dates.

Editorial update: This article was updated multiple times on January 25, 2023, to include new information such as Robinhood Twitter’s official response to the situation as well as additional background context on common crypto scams seen on twitter.

Finance is changing.
Learn how, with Five Minute Finance.
A weekly newsletter that covers the big trends in FinTech and Decentralized Finance.

Do you think more scammers will try and hijack official Twitter accounts to promote their scams? Let us know in the comments below.