Hackers Use Binance Exec Deepfakes to Scam Crypto Projects

Binance is often ranked as the top crypto exchange by trading volume, thus it has become a high-value target for scammers posing as exchange executives in meetings with various crypto projects.

Binance is often ranked as the top crypto exchange by trading volume, thus it has become a high-value target for scammers posing as exchange executives in meetings with various crypto projects.
Photo: Iryna Budanova (Shutterstock)

A recent report from a Binance executive reads more like a bingo card of tech jargon than a warning about the danger of strangers online. Apparently going the usual route to hack crypto projects was too “lo-fi” for some cunning scammers, as the crypto exchange announced that the hackers had a fake hologram to defraud various crypto projects out of their funds.

Binance Director of Communications Patrick Hillmann wrote in a blog post last week that internet scammers had been using deepfake technology to copy his image during video meetings. She began to notice this trend when she received messages from the leaders of various crypto projects thanking her for the meetings he never attended.

mountaineer shared a screenshot of messages sent via LinkedIn with a purported project leader telling the Binance executive that someone had impersonated his hologram. The communications officer wrote that a team of hackers had used old interviews found online to create a deep fake of him. Highlandern added that “Aside from the £15 I earned during the notable absence of COVID, this deepfake was refined enough to fool several highly intelligent members of the crypto community.”

Binance is ranked as one of the largest crypto exchanges by far when compared trading volumewhich likely makes it a high-value target for scammers looking to squeeze cryptocurrency users and project leaders alike.

The executive did not indicate how many of these crypto projects have been scammed, but there has apparently been a wave of hackers posing as Binance staff on multiple social platforms, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Telegram, Hillmann wrote. These fake accounts approach various potential clients of promising crypto projects and ask them to pay a fee for the honor of having their projects listed on Binance. The problem has become so common that Binance has a tool to check if a source really represents the exchange.

“Over the last month, I have received several messages online thanking me for taking the time to meet with project teams regarding potential opportunities to list their assets on Binance.com,” said Hillman.n wrote. “This was strange because I have no oversight or knowledge of Binance listings, nor have I met any of these people before.”

The fact that these executives were targeting not only crypto users, but also crypto project teams, indicates how prolific scams and hacks are in the crypto community in general. The FBI has said that users are regularly scammed by fake crypto apps, losing about $42 million in total during the last year. While some of the biggest crypto heists Other scams called “rug pulls” making users sign up with false promises before simply taking the funds and disappearing.

Of course, Binance is not immune to user complaints. by gizmodo previous reports uncovered hundreds of complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission against the exchange, many arguing that they put their cryptocurrency on Binance but could not withdraw it. Others said they were scammed by people posing as Binance customer support, who in previous years did not have a customer support phone number available. The company now has a support center which appears as one of the first options in Google searches. Of course, part of the problem is that Binance does not claim any country of origin by their headquarters arguing that they are “decentralized”. One of its main offices is in the Cayman Islands, althoughh even that vague designation has be scrutinized in the past.

Still, sophisticated deepfake technology has been a tough nut to crack for many. high profile individuals. Researchers have shown that many online accounts on LinkedIn are AI Powered. Law enforcement officials have said that deepfakes are increasingly being used to apply to remote jobs. The best way to distinguish a deepfake from a real human being is to look for any video flaws or visual glitches or skin textures that don’t look real. Still, many scammers use low-quality cameras to try to mask any signs that the person behind the camera is a digital image.

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