Cybercriminals who hacked nonfungible token artist Beeple’s Twitter account stole $438,000 worth of cryptocurrency and NFTs from his followers Sunday, after impersonating the artist and claiming to have launched a new line of digital art with the designer Louis Vuitton.
The hackers appeared to gain control of Beeple’s account for several hours on Sunday, during which time they changed the artist’s Twitter bio to advertise a raffle for a fake collection with Louis Vuitton–which Beeple collaborated with in 2019–and posted two messages with links that actually directed users to a phishing scam, according to ArtNet.
A phishing link in the first of two tweets posted during Beeple’s account during that time brought in about 36 ether, or $73,000, while a second scammed the artist’s followers out of $365,000 worth of various cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
When followers clicked through either of the two links, the attack would drain crypto and NFTs from users’ cryptocurrency wallets.
It’s still unclear who hacked Beeple’s account, or if the matter is under investigation.
As cryptocurrency and NFTs have grown in popularity, scams targeting the new industries have abounded. More than $1.3 billion worth of crypto was stolen just in the first four months of 2022, according to a report by Atlas VPN. Last month, a consortium of global tax regulators that includes the Internal Revenue Service warned of the growing risk of fraud and money laundering within the NFT space.
Beeple, whose real name is Michael Winkelmann, helped kickstart the NFT mania last year when one of his works sold for a record-breaking $69.3 million during an auction at Christie’s. It remains the most expensive NFT ever sold and the third most expensive artwork by a living artist. Earlier this month, he collaborated with Madonna on a series of controversial NFTs that featured a three-dimensional view of the 63-year-old singer nude based on full body scans. One of the three was snapped up by art dealer Adam Lindemann for about $146,000.
Beeple NFT Sells For $69.3 Million, Becoming Most-Expensive Ever (Forbes)
Madonna Defends Her Nude NFT Collaboration With Beeple (Forbes)
IRS And Foreign Tax Enforcers Warn NFTs Pose Growing Money Laundering Risks (Forbes)