A dark net vendor is reportedly selling hundreds of thousands of cryptocurrency exchange user documents. Among the many exchanges listed through the vendor, world leader Binance cryptocurrency exchange is among them.
Documents included in the sale include government-issued ID, as is often required for Binance’s (and other exchanges’) KYC (“Know Your Customer”) policies. Bittrex exchange, Poloniex exchange, and Bitfinex exchange user documents are also bundled in this sale.
The sale is being offered by a user called “ExploitDOT” on the “Dread” darknet market. The sale has been active since July 2018. So many documents are available that the seller charges only $10 per 100, or $1 per thousand for orders of 25,000 or more. We’re not listing any links to the sale, because this would promote this illegal and harmful activity. News sources have validated the user data, determining that it is authentic.
So what would you get if you made an order from “ExploitDOT”? Well, journalists have done just that, and they received pictures of Binance users’ faces, holding up their drivers’ licences and other government docs. If you’ve ever used Binance, you’ve most likely submitted one such image yourself.
The documents being sold on the dark web appear to be authentic – Binance user data included
These KYC images are meant to let Binance know exactly who is using their service. This allows brokers and exchanges to make sure that bad actors aren’t using their services to launder money, commit fraud, and other crimes. We aren’t sure how well KYC serves this purpose, but this data breach seems to indicate that the major exchanges aren’t very good at keeping these documents secret, and users have reason to worry that their documents may be among the ones for sale on the dark web.
So, what can you do to protect yourself? Unfortunately, if the dark web has your documents, you’re not going to get them back. But there are ways you can protect yourself. Start by freezing your credit. This will allow no one but yourself to open up a credit card in your name, a major step in the stealing of someone else’s identity. Next, look at your credit report to see if there are any negative items that you don’t recognise. If you catch these early, many of them will be able to be reversed.
Hopefully, our readers’ documents are not among those for sale on the dark web. Unfortunately, some of them probably are. It’s a shame that exchanges like Binance have broken our trust like this, but as there’s nothing that can be done about it now, we advise you to lock your credit and consider anew the trustworthiness of the crypto exchanges you use.
Featured image: Nadesda Murmakova/Shutterstock