Bitcoin.com is likely under a government-sponsored cyber attack, according to owner and crypto investor Roger Ver.
The 40-year old Tokyo-based entrepreneur stated Monday that he received a Google Suite alert about a potential intrusion. He posted a screenshot, indicating that anonymous government-backed hackers were attempting to compromise one of the Bitcoin.com’s email accounts. Here’s the copy of that screenshot:
“Because Bitcoin.com is building tools to bring economic freedom to the world, we are likely under government-backed attacks,” Ver guessed.
Espionage on Bitcoin.com
Following a major revamp of its security protocols in 2017, Google now sends alerts for government-sponsored cyber attacks when it detects malware-loaded emails, phishing attempts, or brute force attacks. With government, Google signifies attacks carried out from the infrastructure of identifiable government-linked cyber espionage associations – known as Advanced Persistent Threats, or APT.
The definitions collectively explain that unknown attackers were attempting to gain access to Bitcoin.com’s data across GSuite. It may include emails, docs, spreadsheets, sites, presentations, and most importantly, cloud-enabled file backups. A successful hacking attempt could have led the attackers to access all the data at once, according to Google.
Eric Grosse, the vice president of security engineering at Google, wrote that seeing a government-sponsored attack warning did not necessarily mean that hackers have attacked users’ accounts. It could also suggest that they may be a target and must take immediate steps to secure their profiles.
“You might ask how we know this activity is state-sponsored,” added Grosse. “We can’t go into the details without giving away information that would be helpful to these bad actors, but our detailed analysis—as well as victim reports—strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored.”
In theory, Google must have a database of internet protocol addresses suspicious of participating in cyber attacks. They must have recognized at least some of these addresses as government-owned in the wake of mounting incidents related to cyber warfare, government espionage, and even corporate espionage. Considering no smart attacker would ever expose its IP links, there could be a possibility that some random hacker attempted to hack bitcoin.com’s GSuite server.
“They might not necessarily be government backed but a website of Bitcoin.com size is bound to attract attackers, regardless,” Redditor Ragnarok1066 noted. “Since Google doesn’t really tell you how they know it’s a government attack you don’t really have much information to go on.”
Then, there are some who seconded Ver about the possibilities of government or corporate espionage. One of them blamed China, an easy target for its notorious history of cyber attacks.
“What worries me about this is that I give it about an 80% chance this means China, as Google have a very weak track record when it comes to calling out the US government,” said Redditor Etherael. “Why would China be attacking bitcoin.com? I would have assumed China was aligned with Bitmain, and thus by extension at least neutral to bitcoin.com?”
In the end, it remains uncertain who attempted to attack bitcoin.com. Meanwhile, the situation demands a strong reaction not just from Ver but the operators of other crypto-related businesses as well.