There is no denying that 2020 was the year that brought about a strange chaos across the world, but it appears that 2021 does not have any intention of letting this change. This week, a crypto borrowing and lending app by the name of BlockFi was forced to shut down its registrations temporarily because the app was attacked by a malicious actor. This news was first announced by news media outlet Forbes. According to the employees at BlockFi, the single malicious entity had started the registration process of more than 1,000 fake accounts on the app, which was done on March 7th, 2021.
The employees disclosed that the email addresses of real users had also been used. The biggest issue was that both the first, as well as the last names, of these fake accounts had used some ‘vulgar and racist’ terms. Since they were combined with the real emails of the accounts, it resulted in around 500 emails that were sent out to the users comprising of these types of insults. These emails had been sent to the users automatically because this is part of the tried-and-true process of email verification. However, the platform managed to catch wind of this insult campaign while it was still halfway.
The quickest way to put a stop to this fiasco was to put a stop to the registration process and this is exactly what BlockFi had to do. However, it appeared that the damage was already done and it seemed that the primary purpose of the malicious actor had been to slander the name of BlockFi above anything else. One of these emails that were inspired by racial slurs had been delivered to a journalist named Sara Sheridan, who is based in Philadelphia. It turned out to be a vicious move because Sheridan didn’t waste any time in taking potshots at BlockFi for this offensive maneuver, as if the company had fully sanctioned the abuse of its email confirmation system by a malicious entity.
At first, the chief executive and founder of BlockFi, Zac Prince had decided to do some damage control. However, he soon realized that the jig was up and once he did, he provided a comprehensive explanation about what had actually transpired via the Forbes article. He was the one who announced that they were temporarily stopping registrations but said that existing clients would be able to use the platform.
The most horrible part of the fiasco is that BlockFi is now the second victim of such attacks. The first one had been FTX that had dealt a similar slanderous attack in the previous month. But, in their case, the malicious actors had managed to successfully display racial slurs on Blockfolio’s Signal app’s feed acquired by FTX. Sam Bankman-Fried, the chief executive of FTX, believes that the whole event had been orchestrated by a competitor. Indeed, using a racial slur for insulting a person in today’s day and age is the best way for the media to destroy the culprit.