Yesterday, Bitcoin.org’s website suffered an apparent giveaway scam with users being greeted by a ‘This site can’t be reached’ notification. An entity or person who uses the pseudonym Cobra who has been the site’s operator but whose current affiliation isn’t clear, said the site might be down while they were looking into the hack.
It was reported that a pop-up message blocked the homepage screen, inviting visitors to send money to a bitcoin wallet, claiming the funds will be doubled and sent back. The message also claims it is because the Bitcoin Foundation is “giving back to the community” and that only the first 10,000 users could take advantage of the offer. It also included a QR code for the wallet as well as its address. All other site functionality at the time was limited as users couldn’t get around the message.
“Social engineering attacks against cryptocurrencies are popular amongst criminals largely because of the anonymity afforded by cryptocurrency, the lack of checks prior to a transaction taking place, and the difficulty any victims have in recovering funds,” says Javvad Malik, Lead Security Awareness Advocate at KnowBe4. “We see variations of this across social media and phishing emails all the time, the basic premise is to get victims to send cryptocurrency with the promise of doubling the value before sending it back.
“In the absence of regulatory and security controls to protect cryptocurrency transactions, we need users to remain vigilant and not fall for scams, no matter how tempting the offer may be. This includes never divulging passwords or other sensitive information.”
“Looking at the fraud, we can see the wallet used by the attacker,” adds Martin Jartelius, CSO at Outpost24. “Some of the documentation shows a wallet used by the attacker, and in total about €15,000 worth of bitcoin has passed through the wallet during the day. The funds are then split up into two other wallets. A very expensive lesson to learn for the affected individuals, if someone asks for a dime to give you a dollar, you are about to lose a dime.”