Hacker Gains Control of Binance Jersey’s Twitter Account, Flaunts Security Concerns

Michael LaVere
  • The official Twitter account for Binance Jersey was hacked on Aug. 16
  • White hat hacker claims to have acted for altruistic reasons

A white hat hacker gained control of the official Twitter account for Binance Jersey on Friday, drawing attention to the security issues involved and how easy it would have been to implement a phishing scheme. 

Binance Jersey Hack

On Aug. 16, an anonymous Twitter user by the name @LightningNetwo9 was able to hack and gain control of the official account for Binance Jersey. The white hat hacker, who appeared to bear no malicious intent, went on to create a series of posts detailing how easy it would have been to create a “huge phishing scheme.” 

While the tweets have since been scrubbed, the original post stated, 

“I managed to successfully overtake Binance official domain (binance.je) that I could have easily turned into a huge phishing scheme and scam millions. What I decided is not to do that even tho Im in a huge need of money. I hope that the community will respect it.”

binance jersey hack tweetImage from Twitter

The hacker claimed to be a security researcher and even reached out to Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao with a link to his personal twitter account--presumably using the high profile hack as a job interview of sorts.

“Im a security researcher. Contact me here @cz_binancetwitter.com/LightningNetwo9”

However, the alleged twitter account of the white hat hacker contains no information, and a sole tweet saying “#binance”. The incident is significant as Binance has claimed a hacker leaking KYC documents earlier this year threatened and harassed it. Where the document come from is unclear, although the exchange claims they don't match its records.

Crypto Hacks

Binance Jersey represents one of the four independent branches of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, which leads the world in terms of trading volume. The exchange also operates accounts in Singapore, Malta and Uganda, with plans to open a US branch in the coming months.

While the hack appears to have resolved in benign fashion, the entire cryptocurrency industry is on high alert after a series of scams. The market for bitcoin and altcoins has been on a downward trend from the constant selling pressure believed to have been imposed by a Chinese ponzi scheme worth billions. 

Earlier in the week, it was revealed that criminals involved in the PlusToken scam were unloading their 70,000 BTC in regular batches across exchanges, leading to a price depression for crypto-assets. 

In addition, litecoin wallets have come under siege from a large-scale dusting attack that seeks to identify certain users and organizations for phishing schemes. 

According to the most anti-money laundering recent report by CypherTrace, crypto scams have already accounted for $4.2 billion in losses through the first half of the 2019. 

Ousted Bitmain Co-Founder Storms Company Offices With Private Security Guards

Micree Zhan, co-founder of cryptocurrency mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain, has reportedly stormed the company’s offices in Beijing with private security guards in a bid to take back control.

According to local news outlet Blockbeats, the moves comes amid a battle for control over Bitmain between its two co-founders, Micree Zhan and Jihan Wu. Zhan reportedly took over the Beijing offices with private security guards and then sent a letter to shareholders and employees, stating he was in control of the office and encouraging employees to return to work.

On social media an edited version of the video of Zhan storming the offices is circulating.

In the letter, Zhan apologized for the recent turmoil at the company and said he would take it public in hopes of raising funds through an initial public offering and getting its value up to $50 billion within five years.

On its Weibo account, Bitmain claimed Zhan has been removed from his position as a legal representative for the Beijing subsidiary of Bitmain, and that a team of lawyers will be pursuing litigation. Under Chinese law, it’s worth noting, a legal representative has powers over the company’s capital and assets, and as such the title is usually held by the CEO.

Battling for Bitmain

Bitmain’s co-founder, it’s worth noting, have been battling each other since October 2019, when CEO Jihan Wu ousted Zhan from the firm, sending staff an email informing them they were to “no longer take any direction from Zhan, or participate in any meeting organized by Zhan.” Bitmain could, per the email, “consider terminating employment contracts” for those who went against the email.

The internal dispute between Zhan and Wu started over different opinions on Bitmain’s future. While Zhan believes the firm should diversify and start offering silicon specialized towards artificial Intelligence, Wu has fought for it to pursue cryptocurrency mining-related operations.

After Bitmain failed to go public on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, Wu left the company but later on return with shareholder support, saying he would take legal action to regain control over it. At the time, Wu said:

Bitmain is our child. I will fight for her till the end with legal weapons. I won’t allow those who want to plot against Bitmain to succeed. If someone wants a war, we will give them one.

At the time control of the company was given to Zhan, but the conflict escalated on May 8 at the Haidian District Administrative Service Center, as when the co-founder was there to collect documents, dozens of others showed up, including Bitmain’s current CEO Liu Luvao. According to Caixin, a physical fight ensued and police had to be called.

Featured image by Ali Yahya on Unsplash.