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FBI Investigating Tuesday’s Hack of SEC’s Social Media Account

The FBI is reportedly looking into a hacker’s brief takeover of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) account on the social media platform X.

The SEC said the FBI is investigating the incident, which happened Tuesday (Jan. 9), according to multiple media reports posted Wednesday (Jan. 10).

“The SEC continues to investigate the matter and is coordinating with appropriate law enforcement entities, including the SEC’s Office of the Inspector General and the FBI,” an SEC spokesperson said in a statement, CNN reported Wednesday.

The incident has drawn criticism from Sens. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., who have demanded an explanation from the SEC and want answers by Jan. 23, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

In a letter dated Tuesday and addressed to SEC Chair Gary Gensler, the senators said the unauthorized post and the widespread confusion that followed raise concerns about the SEC’s internal cybersecurity procedures and its ability to carry out its mission.

“It is unacceptable that the agency entrusted with regulating the epicenter of the world’s capital markets would make such a colossal error,” the senators said in their letter.

During Tuesday’s breach, the hackers used the SEC account to erroneously say that the agency had given its long-awaited approval to a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

The SEC and Gensler both took to X Tuesday evening, shortly after the breach, to disavow the announcement, saying the account was compromised, the post was unauthorized and the bitcoin ETF had not been approved yet.

The X “Safety” account confirmed the hack, adding that an unidentified individual had obtained control over a phone number associated with the SEC account and that the account did not have two-factor authentication enabled at the time.

On Wednesday, the SEC approved the first bitcoin ETFs, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The regulator approved 11 applications and some of the products are expected to begin trading as early as Thursday (Jan. 11), according to the report.

In the months leading up to the decision, there had been a rally in bitcoin as the investment world held its collective breath waiting to see what the regulator would do.