Hackers have taken over a wave of Twitter accounts to aggressively advertise a website that claims to be selling face masks and toilet paper during the coronavirus pandemic.
The news highlights the sorts of unusual steps those trying to make a profit during the pandemic are taking. Accounts posted hundreds of tweets linking to the website over the last few hours, Vice News reported.
Todd Feathers, a writer who covers artificial intelligence and surveillance for Motherboard, confirmed hackers targeted his account to post the message.
From there, as well as posting a tweet advertising the masks website, whoever was in control of Feathers’ account sent direct messages to a high number of his followers with a link to the site as well, Feathers said.
Searching for the site on Twitter reveals a heavy stream of other accounts posting the link on Tuesday. Some of these accounts also appear to have been hacked—the accounts themselves were created years ago and posted relatively normal content before the masks site tweet.
According to Vice News, the barebones website itself claims to sell face masks, respirators, digital thermometers, and toilet roll. It is unclear if it is purely a scam designed to take money without delivering a product, or whether the site actually has access to the products.
Motherboard found other near identical masks websites hosted on the same IP address as the site mentioned by the hacked accounts. Some of these sites were created a few days earlier.