Prominent cryptocurrency website Bitcoin.org was hacked on Wednesday night, with attackers posting a pop-up message promising visitors could ‘double’ any money sent to them.
The scam message listed a digital wallet address which collected $17,700 in small transactions before the entire website appeared to be taken offline in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Visitors weren’t able to skirt around the pop-up to use the site’s other functionalities.
The message read: ‘The Bitcoin Foundation is giving back to the community! Send Bitcoin to this address, and we will send double the amount in return.’
Bitcoin.org is not affiliated with the Bitcoin Foundation – a non-profit trade group which promotes the adoption of the digital currency and uses the web address bitcoinfoundation.org.
Bitcoin.org was registered in 2008, in the early days of the cryptocurrency, and is an open-source project aiming to further development of bitcoin, according to tech site beincrypto.
A ‘giveaway scam’ pop-up appeared on Bitcoin.org on Wednesday asking people to send money with a promise of doubling it. By Thursday morning, the website appeared to be offline
Such scams have been a problem for the cryptocurrency world since at least 2017
The apparent ‘giveaway scam’ was first reported by cryptocurrency news site CoinDesk.
Such scams are a form of social engineering that manipulate people into giving away money or personal information, and they’ve been a problem in the cryptocurrency world for years.
‘The catch here is that in order to participate in the giveaway, you must first send a certain amount of cryptocurrency to a giveaway address so that you can verify your wallet address and receive your share of the giveaway,’ according to the cryptocurrency exchange platform CoinBase.
‘However, because cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible, once a victim sends money to the scammer’s address, there is nothing anyone can do to get it back and the scammer has made a profit.’
One bitcoin is worth $44,174.68 as of Thursday morning, down from an all-time high of $64,899 on April 13.
So-called ‘giveaway gangs’ made $18 million from the scams in the first three-and-a-half months of the year, up from $16 million in 2020, according to the BBC.
One bitcoin is worth $44,174.68, down from an all-time high of $64,899 on April 13
Last year, the real Twitter accounts of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Kim Kardashian were hacked by scammers who offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address, according to the Associated Press.
The hackers eventually made out with more than $118,000 worth of Bitcoin and three people were arrested.
Bitcoin allows users to send and receive money anonymously and without the use of traditionally regulated institutions and banks. Transactions are made public on a ledger, but the identity of those handling the money is rarely known.
They’ve been used to request ransom payments from hackers who have gained access to huge networks, such as the Irish health care system or the Colonial Pipeline in the US.
In June, London’s High Court ordered Bitcoin.org to pay $48,000 and to stop hosting the Bitcoin ‘white paper,’ the first document to outline the principles of cryptocurrency written by the unknown person, or persons, Satoshi Nakamoto.
The website was ordered to pay the money to Craig Wright, who owns the copyright to the white paper.
It was also ordered to host a disclosure on its website about the default judgement, decided after the website’s anonymous operator, Cobra, didn’t show up to court.