Binance, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges and the highest-ranked exchange by volume traded, has launched an investigation after an anonymous warning threatening to leak a ton of its customer data.
“We would like to inform you that an unidentified individual has threatened and harassed us, demanding 300 BTC in exchange for withholding 10,000 photos that bear similarity to Binance KYC data,” the firm announced in a release today.
The individual had demanded 300 bitcoin which is worth more than $3 million in today’s prices. The individual is threatening to release of 10,000 photos showing “know your customer (KYC)” data from the organization. This includes ID cards, driving licenses and face scans and other private information of users.
“We are still investigating this case for legitimacy and relevancy. After refusing to cooperate and continuing with this extortion, this individual has begun distributing the data to the public.”
One hacker told CoinDesk that tens of thousands of KYC files may be leaked. The stolen data is “directly related” to a large scale hack last year, CoinDesk said in their report.
In today’s statement, Binance attempted to distance itself from blame.
“There are inconsistencies when comparing this data to the data in our system, No evidence has been supplied that indicates KYC images have been obtained from Binance, as these images do not contain the digital watermark imprinted by our system. Our security team is hard at work pursuing all possible leads in an attempt to identify the source of these images.” Binance added.
The Telegram group created to share the images currently has more than 10,000 members according to Yahoo Finance UK reports.
“By joining or spreading the link of the telegram group you are helping malicious hackers, at least giving attention” said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.
In its statement, the company said it would now be offering a reward of up to 25 bitcoin for information that helps to identify the person behind the extort organization that is assumed to be based in China.
“The hacker also claims he has KYC information from multiple exchanges, When asked to prove the source of the data, the individual demanded 300 BTC and refused to supply irrefutable evidence of their findings. Later, they went to the press under false pretenses, posing as a white hat with good intentions. The relevant law enforcement agencies have been contacted and we will be working closely with them to pursue this person.”
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