Fake alert emails raise Coinbase hacking fears

Crypto exchange Coinbase is preparing to go public
(Image credit: Coinbase)

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has rushed to reassure users after emails were sent out claiming customer security settings had been changed.

The company emailed about 125,000 customers on Friday informing them that their 2-step verification settings had been changed. Unsurprisingly, the email led many users to believe that their account had been hacked, some of whom even liquidated significant portions of their cryptos reportedly.

Coinbase soon followed up with a second email informing customers that the earlier email was sent erroneously, and was the result of a fault with the company’s systems, rather than the work of a threat actor.

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“Our teams immediately recognized the problem and worked as quickly as possible to ensure these erroneous notifications were stopped and the underlying issue fixed,” the company tweeted following the delivery of the false alert emails.

Coinbase threats

The issue was the result of an internal error and not a hack, Coinbase spokesperson Andrew Schmitt told CNBC. “All of a sudden, the system just started sending stuff like a bug in the system, but it was not a malicious or third party error,” he affirmed.

Speaking to CNBC, a Coinbase customer said the erroneous notification led him to sell cryptos worth over $60,000.

Schmitt added that the company worked through most the weekend allaying fears of the spooked customers.

“We’re laser focused on building trust and security into the crypto community so that the open financial system we all want is a reality. We recognize that issues like this can hurt that trust,” tweeted Coinbase. 

The news comes shortly after some Coinbase customers were hit by a cyber-attack that emptied their wallets. Criminals used SIM swapping as a means to take over accounts, which were sold on the Dark Web for anywhere between $100 and $150.

One couple logged onto the service to discover that $168k in cryptocurrency had vanished after hackers were able to take over their account.


Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.