Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has filed a lawsuit against video sharing company YouTube for allegedly allowing hackers to use images and videos of him in a Twitter bitcoin scam.
According to Wozniak, YouTube failed to stop the hackers from using his images and videos to defraud people on Twitter through a bitcoin scam.
Twitter hack and bitcoin scam
Last week, social media firm Twitter said 130 accounts were targeted by hackers in a Bitcoin scam, including those of Barack Obama, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates.
The accounts were compromised to promote a cryptocurrency scam due to an attack by hackers on some of its employees with access to the company’s internal tools.
Twitter’s support team said: “We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”
The hackers were able to bypass account security by somehow gaining access to Twitter’s own internal administration tools.
In a series of tweets, the company said: “We know they [the hackers] used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf.”
The affected accounts include those of former President Barack Obama, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Mike Bloomberg. The accounts posted similar tweets soliciting donations via Bitcoin to their verified profiles.
Gates’ tweet read: “Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time. I am doubling all payments sent to my BTC address for the next 30 minutes. You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000…Only going on for 30 minutes! Enjoy!”
A spokesperson for Gates stated: “We can confirm that this tweet was not sent by Bill Gates. This appears to be part of a larger issue that Twitter is facing. Twitter is aware and working to restore the account.”
Despite being one of the most prominent Twitter users, President Donald Trump was unaffected by the attack.
The complaint filed by Wozniak argues that the “vast” scam is continuing on YouTube, with tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency already stolen.
Law firm Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy represents Wozniak, as well as 17 others affected by the fraud, from the US, UK, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, China and Europe.
Wozniak said: “If YouTube had acted quickly to stop this to a reasonable extent, we would not be here now. YouTube, like Google, seems to rely on algorithms and no special effort requiring custom software employed quickly in these cases of criminal activity.”
“If a crime is being committed, you must be able to reach humans capable of stopping it,” he pointed out.
Lawyer Joe Cotchett explained: “When Twitter was hit with a massive hack of 130 celebrity accounts, they were quick to shut down the Bitcoin scam in a day. In stark contrast, the complaint alleges that YouTube knowingly allowed the Bitcoin scam to go on for months promoted it and profited from it by selling targeted advertising.”
A similar case has been filed by cryptocurrency company Ripple Labs but YouTube’s legal team successfully argued that the firm was not liable for any content, including scams, provided by third parties.