It Wasn’t a Draft Tweet: SEC Taps FBI to Investigate Fake Bitcoin ETF Post

The hacker who compromised the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Twitter account yesterday posted content that was never drafted by the Commission, the federal agency said Wednesday. 

In a statement shared with Decrypt, an SEC spokesperson said that no elements of the Twitter post made Tuesday afternoon by a hacker who gained access to the SEC’s account—which announced the approval of all 11 pending spot Bitcoin ETF applications—were created internally at the agency. 

The spokesperson said the agency is now cooperating with the FBI to investigate the hack and track down its perpetrator. 

The development deflates several theories circulating in the aftermath of yesterday’s events, namely the one which speculated that a hacker infiltrated the SEC’s Twitter account, discovered a scheduled Tweet announcing the Bitcoin ETF approvals, and published it prematurely. 

It also highlights the sophistication of the hack. The phony Bitcoin ETF approval post included a graphic featuring an inlaid quote purportedly from SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, commenting on the significance of the agency’s announcement. 

“Today’s approval enhances market transparency and provides investors with efficient access to digital asset investments within a regulated framework,” the hacker, posing as Gensler, wrote. 

The language was apparently so closely tailored to Gensler’s typical way of speaking that even senior ETF analysts maintained—after the hack was revealed—that the post was likely really from the SEC, but merely published a day too early. 

In the hours following the hack, Twitter’s Safety team confirmed that the SEC’s account was hacked, but not due to any flaws in the platform’s design; the company said that the SEC did not enable two-factor authentication for its Twitter account. A hacker was therefore able to infiltrate the account by merely obtaining control over a phone number associated with it. 

In the minutes following the revelation that the SEC’s spot Bitcoin ETF approval post was a hoax, Bitcoin’s price plunged. Lawmakers have since demanded an explanation for how the market-shifting hack was able to succeed. 

Despite all the hullabaloo, analysts still anticipate that the SEC will begin approving spot Bitcoin ETF applications on schedule, beginning this afternoon.

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