A recent report from a Binance executive sounds more like a bingo card in tech jargon than a warning about the danger of strangers online. Apparently going the usual route of hacking crypto projects was a little too “lo-fi” for some shrewd scammers, as the crypto exchange announced that hackers had a deepfake hologram to scam multiple crypto projects out of their funds. .
Binance Communications Director Patrick Hillmann written in a blog post last week that internet scammers were using deepfake technology to copy his image during video meetings. He began to understand this trend when he received messages from the management of various crypto projects thanking him for meetings he had never attended.
Hillman shared a screenshot of messages sent on LinkedIn with a supposed project manager telling the Binance executive that someone had impersonated his hologram. The communications manager wrote that a team of hackers used old interviews found online to create a deepfake of him. Hillmanadded that “Besides the 15 pounds I gained during COVID being conspicuously absent, this deep fake has been refined enough to fool several very smart members of the crypto community.”
Binance is by far ranked as one of the biggest crypto exchanges when comparing trading volumewhich likely makes it a high-value target for scammers looking to extract both crypto users and project managers out of their money.
The executive did not indicate how many of these crypto projects were scammed, but apparently there was a wave of hackers posing as Binance staff on several social platforms, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Telegram, Hillmann wrote. These fake accounts approach various leads of promising crypto projects, asking them to pay a fee for the honor of having their projects listed on Binance. The issue has become common enough that Binance has a tool to check if a source actually represents the exchange.
“Over the past month, I have received several messages online thanking me for taking the time to meet with the project teams regarding potential opportunities to list their assets on Binance.com,” Hillman said.didn’t write. “It was weird because I don’t have any oversight or insight into Binance listings, and I hadn’t met any of these people before.”
The fact that these executives weren’t just targeting crypto users, but also crypto project teams, shows just how prolific scams and hacks are in the wider crypto community. The FBI said users are routinely scammed by fake crypto apps, lose about $42 million in total over the past year. While some of biggest crypto heists have involved hackers infiltrating web3 networks, usually abusing security vulnerabilities found in connected web2 applications, other scams called “rugpulls“Trick users into signing up with false promises before simply taking the funds and disappearing.
Of course, Binance is not immune to user complaints. Gizmodo’s previous reports uncovered hundreds of complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission against the exchange, with many claiming that they had put their crypto into Binance but were prohibited from withdrawing it. Others have reported being scammed by people claiming to be Binance customer support, which 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 for their HQ arguing that they are “decentralized”. One of their main offices is located in the Cayman Islands, althoughh even this vague designation has be subject to scrutiny in the old days.
Yet sophisticated deepfake technology has been a difficult problem for many. prominent personalities. Researchers have proven that many online accounts on LinkedIn are Generated by AI. Law enforcement officials said deepfakes are increasingly being used to apply for remote jobs. The best way to tell a deepfake from a real human is to watch for video glitches, visual issues, or skin texture that doesn’t look real. Yet many scammers use poor quality cameras to try to hide any sign that the person behind the camera is a digital image.
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