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Hacker Extorts World’s Largest Bitcoin Exchange Over KYC Data
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, recently revealed that it has been targeted by an extortionist seeking “300 BTC in exchange for withholding 10,000 photos that bear similarity to Binance KYC data.”
The Malta-headquartered exchange refused to cooperate with the hacker, and as such, a shedload of the photos have been released, including several hundred that he or she supplied to CoinDesk:
On Wednesday, a Telegram group created by an admin under the pseudonym “Guardian M” distributed hundreds of images of individuals holding their IDs and pieces of paper written with “Binance, 02/24/18,” alleging that the data presented was hacked from the exchange. The hacker supplied CoinDesk with hundreds of photographs and we have identified a number of users who recognize the photos of their faces and personal IDs that they sent into Binance for know-your-customer purposes.
The hacker told CoinDesk that he or she has at least 60,000 more and that he will release them over time. We have access to nearly 1,000.
Binance, for its part, says that there several “inconsistencies” between the leaked data and the ones in their system, adding that “no evidence has been supplied that indicates any KYC images have been obtained from Binance, as these images do not contain the digital watermark imprinted by our system.”
Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s founder and CEO, Tweeted for people not to “fall into ‘the KYC leak’ FUD” and that the company is still investigating the matter and will update users shortly. On the Telegram group where the photos were released, here’s what he had to say:
I would like to add, by joining or spreading the link of the telegram group, you are helping malicious hackers (at least giving attention). What we should do as an industry is to fight them. Stay on the positive side. Report the group, then leave. ??? https://t.co/Cvxks2S69i
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) August 7, 2019
Binance is currently offering a reward of up to 25 BTC to anyone who could provide information about the hacker.
Photo: BTC Keychain