It seems 2021 has failed to give up the mantle of strange chaos that 2020 so gleefully gave us. This week, BlockFi, a crypto borrowing, and lending app, was forced to close its registrations temporarily thanks to a malicious actor attacking the app. This comes from the Forbes media outlet.
A Senseless Slandering
BlockFi’s employees stated that a single malicious entity managed to start the registration process for more than 1,000 fake accounts, doing so on the 7th of March, 2021. It did so through the use of real users’ email addresses, as well.
These fake accounts had “vulgar and racist” terms implemented in both the first and last names of the fake accounts. This, coupled with the fact that real emails were attributed to the accounts, caused around 500 emails to be sent out containing these types of insults.
The emails were sent automatically as part of the tried-and-true email verification process, but BlockFi managed to catch wind halfway through this insult campaign. The quickest solution to this problem was to stop registrations wholesale, which it did.
Best Way To Drag A Name Through The Mud
However, the damage was done, and it seemed this malicious actor was out to slander BlockFi’s name above all else. Sara Sheridan stands as a journalist based in Philadelphia that had received one of these racial slur-inspired emails. It’s a vicious thing, as Sheridan promptly took an array of potshots at BlockFi for this perceived slight, as if it fully sanctioned a malicious entity abusing their email confirmation system.
I received an email from @BlockFi this weekend asking me to confirm my account (which I never signed up for in the first place). When I opened the email, it began with: "Hi **n-word**," except of course this most violent racial slur was spelled out fully (1/*)
— Sara Sheridan (@SaraSheridan14) March 8, 2021
Zac Prince tried to do damage control at first, but realized the jig was up quickly after. He gave a comprehensive explanation as to what happened through the Forbes article.
1/ We are temporarily pausing new signups for @BlockFi. Existing clients continue to have full access to the platform and everything other than new sign ups is operating normally. We experienced a minor
— Zac Prince (@BlockFiZac) March 8, 2021
Antagonizing The Vultures
The horrid beauty of this is that BlockFi was the second victim in these types of attacks. The first was FTX, who suffered a similar slanderous attack just last month. In FTX’s case, however, malicious actors managed to trick Blockfolio’s Signal app’s feed, successfully displaying various racial slurs on the FTX-acquired app’s feed. It’s believed by Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of FTX, that the entire event was done by a competitor.
Indeed, insulting the wrong type of person in this day and age with a racial slur is a surefire way to get the media at large to single you out, eat you up, and spit you back out.