In a recent statement, United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler addressed the unauthorized access to the SEC’s official Twitter account, @SECGov X (formerly Twitter).
Gensler emphasized that there is currently no evidence to suggest that the unauthorized party gained access to SEC systems, data, devices, or other social media accounts. However, the SEC is taking the cybersecurity incident seriously and is actively evaluating its impact on cryptocurrency agencies, investors, and marketplaces.
SEC security breach raises concerns
The security breach occurred on January 9, 2024, when an unauthorized party took control of the SEC’s official X account via a phone call at 4:11 pm ET. The intruder posted a false announcement that the SEC had approved a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).
Shortly thereafter, a second post containing “$BTC” was made and subsequently deleted. The initial ETF approval post remained on the X account. The SEC staff promptly contacted X for assistance in terminating the unauthorized access, which was confirmed to be terminated between 4:40 pm ET and 5:30 pm ET.
Gensler acknowledged the concerns surrounding the security of the SEC’s social media accounts and indicated that the SEC’s staff would continue to assess whether additional remedial measures are necessary. Importantly, he highlighted that the SEC does not use X or any other social media platform to announce official developments.
Collaborative investigation efforts
The SEC is working closely with various law enforcement and security agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). These agencies are actively conducting investigations to identify the responsible party and determine the extent of the breach.
In response to the security incident, members of the United States Congress have called upon the SEC to conduct a thorough investigation into its cybersecurity practices. In a letter dated January 11, Senators Ron Wyden and Cynthia Lummis urged SEC Inspector General Deborah Jeffrey to launch a probe to assess the commission’s cybersecurity practices.
The letter emphasizes the importance of safeguarding the integrity and credibility of regulatory announcements, especially in the cryptocurrency market, which is known for its volatility and sensitivity to news. The unauthorized announcement of a Bitcoin ETF approval had the potential to impact the market significantly.
Implications for crypto agencies and investors
The unauthorized access and false announcements have raised concerns among cryptocurrency agencies and investors. Market participants are keenly aware of the potential impact of regulatory decisions on the cryptocurrency market, and false information can lead to confusion and volatility.
As the investigation unfolds, cryptocurrency agencies and investors are advised to exercise caution and rely on official SEC channels and announcements for accurate information. Verifying the authenticity of any news or developments related to cryptocurrency regulations is crucial.