The UK education secretary’s Twitter account appears to have been hacked, with its profile picture changed to an image of Elon Musk and several posts promoting a cryptocurrency once backed by the billionaire.
While Gillian Keegan’s page still describes her as MP for Chichester and secretary of state for education, and has retained its banner image showcasing her constituency work, it has otherwise descended into chaos.
The account has replied to scores of tweets to promote a fake event hosted by Musk’s companies Twitter and Tesla, claiming that there will be “a special giveaway for all our fans and the crypto community”.
The link has the tag line: “Elon Musk – GET FREE DOGE, BTC & ETC!”
This refers to Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency launched as a joke in 2013, but that once soared in value by more than 18,000% when Musk regularly praised it.
Other tweets refer to anyone who owns the cryptocurrency as “a Dogecoin warrior fighting for the future”.
Based on the tweets, it appears that Ms Keegan’s account was hacked at around 7.30pm on Christmas Day.
Keegan not the first to fall foul of Twitter hack
It is not the first time that high profile accounts have been hacked and flooded with crypto spam and images of Musk, with the British Army falling foul earlier this year.
Musk has spoken publicly about his desire to crack down on spam, bots, and other dangerous or fraudulent content since completing his $44bn (£38bn) takeover in October.
But major lay-offs at the company have raised concerns that it will lack the staff to do so.
Ms Keegan’s account being exposed comes just two months after a phone belonging to former prime minister and foreign secretary Liz Truss was reportedly hacked by Russia.
Agents suspected of working for Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly hacked her personal phone during the summer Tory leadership campaign, gaining access to details of negotiations with key international allies.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove insisted the government took such security issues “incredibly seriously”.
In both cases, the numbers were publicly available for well over a decade.