Coinbase prevented users from losing over $280,000 during Twitter attack

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Posted on: July 21, 2020 7:17 pm EDT

The exchange quickly intervened and blocked certain crypto wallet addresses after the hack started

Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, helped over 1,000 users avoid becoming victims of a crypto scam that took place last week. Last Wednesday, more than 100 high-profile Twitter accounts were hacked in a coordinated crypto scam after hackers were apparently able to convince some Twitter employees to use the company’s internal system to access and hack these accounts. The hackers then proceeded to use the accounts to send out requests for Bitcoin (BTC); however, some of those users who were about to be scammed and tried to send BTC to a specific address were saved by Coinbase, which moved quickly to blacklist the hackers’ wallet address.

The concept of the scam was very simple; these high-profile Twitter accounts like those of Apple, Joe Biden, Bill Gates and many others – some of them with millions of users – displayed a coordinated message asking for BTC funds to be sent to an address. Even if simple, it is an effective scam and many people tend to send funds, which is why what Coinbase did was so effective. The exchange blocked users from sending money to this address, so at least 1,000 customers were stopped from sending around $280,000 to the criminals. Before the company was able to place this block on the address, at least 14 Coinbase users ended up sending $3,000 worth of BTC to the scammer’s address.

“We noticed the scam and began blocking transactions within a couple of minutes of the initial wave of scam posts,” a Coinbase spokesperson told The Verge on Monday. Among the targeted Twitter accounts, there were some directly related to the crypto industry like Binance and Gemini. Coinbase actually noticed there was something going on after noticing the suspicious posts shared by its fellow exchanges’ Twitter accounts.