Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao on Friday warned of a “massive phishing scam via SMS” targeting the cryptocurrency exchange. In a tweet, Zhao said, “There is a massive phishing scam via SMS with a link to cancel withdrawals. It leads to a phishing website to harvest your credential as in the screenshot below. NEVER click on links from SMS!”
SMS Phishing scam is when hackers send text messages that are designed to steal personal or financial information from you, whether by pretending to be a reputable site, or getting you to download malware onto your phone.
According to the screenshot shared by the CEO, the scam involves sending users a text message with a link to cancel withdrawals, leading users to a malicious website engineered to harvest their login credentials. As of now, it is unclear how many Binance customers had fallen victim to this scam.
Scams and heist are common occurrence in the crypto world. As of early 2022, crypto analytics firm Chainalysis said illicit address already hold over $10 billion worth of cryptocurrencies, with the majority of this held by wallets associated with cryptocurrency theft. Customers being defrauded in this and other ways remain a common feature of the crypto industry even on major exchanges.
Earlier in January, Crypto.com acknowledged that at least 483 users on its platform lost $34 million in cryptocurrencies after cybercriminals took advantage of a vulnerability and hacked the exchange. More recently, hackers have stolen nearly $320 million in cryptocurrency from a decentralised finance (DeFi) platform Wormhole Portal. The DeFi platform is a bridge between cryptocurrency Solana (SOL) and other blockchains, was exploited for approximately 120,000 wrapped Ethereum.
For the uninitiated, DeFi is an alternative finance ecosystem where consumers transfer, trade, borrow and lend cryptocurrency, independently of traditional financial institutions and the regulatory structures that have been built around banking. The DeFi movement aims to “disintermediate” finance, using computer code to eliminate the need for trust and middlemen from transactions.
Hackers have targeted DeFis the most in 2021, in yet another warning for those dabbling in this emerging segment of the crypto industry. “DeFi is one of the most exciting areas of the wider cryptocurrency ecosystem, presenting huge opportunities to entrepreneurs and cryptocurrency users alike,” Chainalysis wrote in its annual Crypto Crime report.