Twitter Hack Could Bring Criminals More Money If Coinbase Did not Block Transactions

Twitter suffered a huge attack last week. The IT community was shocked and bewildered by how “unimpressive” was criminals’ income from the loudest attack on social networks in history. It turned out that the Twitter hack could have brought criminals more money if Coinbase Did not Block Transactions.

During the attack, were compromised accounts of many public people and large companies, including Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Apple and Uber, CoinDesk, Binance and Gemini, and so on.

The cybercriminals took advantage of the access to the top accounts by arranging a fake distribution of bitcoins.

“The scammers acted according to the classic scam scheme: on behalf of famous people and large companies, they asked to send them a small amount of cryptocurrency, promising to double and return any amount received”, – said Twitter representatives.

The preliminary results of the investigation state that were hacked 130 accounts. For 45 of them, passwords were successfully reset and compromised. For 8 more accounts, the attackers downloaded all available account content using the Your Twitter Data function. Interestingly, none of these 8 accounts were verified (had no blue checkmark).

Unfortunately, even in 2020, there were many people who believed that Bill Gates, Elon Musk and other famous people and companies suddenly began distributing bitcoins. Since all the hacked accounts used the same messages and the same bitcoin wallet, you can see that the scammers “earned” about 13 BTC, that is, about $120,000.

However, as it turned out now, this amount could have been much higher. In an interview with Forbes reporters, the information security director of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Philip Martin said that upon noticing the attack on Twitter and scammers’ messages, the exchange employees immediately took a number of actions. In particular, Coinbase prevented 1,100 customers from transferring 30.4 BTC to the attackers’ address, that is, approximately $280,000 at the current exchange rate.

“Only 14 Coinbase users managed to send bitcoins to the fraudulent address (totaling about $3,000) before Coinbase blacklisted it”, – said Philip Martin.

Other exchanges, including Gemini, Kraken and Binance, also reported that they blocked funds transfers to the hackers’ wallet, although their users made far smaller transaction attempts than Coinbase users.

Forbes notes that blacklisting certain addresses (even if they are used by scammers and criminals) has already made the cryptocurrency community start talking about possible censorship from major exchanges.

Let me remind you of an interesting case from the British authorities – a year ago they decided to give cybercriminal’s bitcoins as a compensation for its victims.

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About Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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