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Coinbase customers up in arms after hackers drain crypto wallets

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An increasing number of users of the highly popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (opens in new tab) have found their accounts on the platform empty after hackers managed to gain access to them and drain their cryptocurrency wallets (opens in new tab).

According to a new report (opens in new tab) from CNBC, the news outlet interviewed Coinbase customers across the US to discover thousands of customer complaints. For instance, one couple logged onto the service to discover that $168k in cryptocurrency had vanished after hackers were able to take over their account.

To add insult to injury, the couple was unable to reach Coinbase for support after the incident occurred. While banks now employ live chat (opens in new tab) as well as email and telephones to provide customers support, the popular cryptocurrency company only responds to customers via email. 

Although Coinbase did originally offer live chat for support, the feature was phased out around 2016 though according to a recent blog post (opens in new tab), it plans to re-add live chat to its platform. Additionally, Coinbase plans to continue to expand its customer support team to better serve its customers.

Account takeovers

If money is accidentally transferred out of your bank account to another account, you can easily call your bank to have the transaction reversed. However, the same can't be said for cryptocurrency (opens in new tab) ; once it's transferred off an exchange to a bank, there's no way to recover the lost funds.

While using two-factor authentication (2FA (opens in new tab)) and a password manager (opens in new tab) can help secure your crypto accounts, cybercriminals have begun using SIM swapping (opens in new tab) as a means to take over accounts. 

For those unfamiliar, SIM swapping involves a cybercriminal taking control of a victim's phone number and SIM card through their mobile carrier. From here, they can then intercept 2FA codes sent via text message to take over a victim's other online accounts.

These hacked Coinbase accounts are then sold on the Dark Web (opens in new tab) for anywhere between $100 and $150 according to Etay Maor from Cato Networks who spoke with CNBC.

For this reason, if you don't plan on exchanging your crypto for cash anytime soon, it is recommended that you store your cryptocurrency in a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano X (opens in new tab) or the Trezor Model T (opens in new tab) instead of leaving it on a cryptocurrency exchange. This way, hackers won't be able to steal your cryptocurrency without first breaking into your home or apartment.

Via CNBC (opens in new tab)

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.