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Vitalik's X Account Breach: A Costly Misstep

Martin Walker
Sep 10, 2023 at 10:05 am

Supposedly, there have been reports indicating that Vitalik Buterin, one of Ethereum's co-founders, recently encountered a rather unsettling incident involving the compromise of his X account (previously known as Twitter). According to the well-known blockchain investigator ZachXBT, this particular event resulted in a rather substantial collective loss of over $691,000 for individuals who unfortunately fell victim to the scheme, all due to an ill-fated click on a devious link.

It was on the 9th of September when a post surfaced on X, authored by Dmitry Buterin, Vitalik's father, in which he made a somewhat disconcerting announcement:

"Please kindly disregard the content of this post; it has come to our attention that Vitalik's account may have been compromised. Rest assured, Vitalik is diligently working to regain control of the account."

The post that Dmitry referred to has since been taken down, but it originally appeared on Buterin's account, supposedly celebrating the introduction of "Proto-Danksharding to Ethereum," though its authenticity is now highly suspect.

The individual responsible for the breach cunningly shared a link that purported to offer a free commemorative nonfungible token (NFT), luring unsuspecting users to connect their wallets, only to swiftly make off with their hard-earned funds.

Subsequently, this unfortunate incident has led to Ethereum developer Bok Khoo, who is more commonly known as Bokky Poobah on X, reporting significant losses within his CryptoPunk NFT collection.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">WARNING! I JUST LOST A FEW PUNKS!<br><br>DON&#39;T INTERACT! <a href="https://t.co/lS4VvlHdVa">pic.twitter.com/lS4VvlHdVa</a></p>&mdash; chiefeditor.eth@encyclopediagalactica.eth ohgod.et (@BokkyPooBah) <a href="https://twitter.com/BokkyPooBah/status/1700649557926064520?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 9, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

As of the time of this report, the prevailing baseline price for a CryptoPunk NFT stands at 46.99 Ether (ETH), approximately equivalent to $76,837, creating a worrisome economic impact for those affected.

ZachXBT, with his extensive following of 438,200 individuals, has been diligently keeping his audience informed about the activities of the hacker. In a recent update, he disclosed that the most valuable NFT stolen thus far is CryptoPunk #3983, with an estimated value of 153.62 ETH, roughly equivalent to $250,543, further exacerbating the losses incurred.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">$147K drained so far <a href="https://t.co/A4Xmr4MBmI">pic.twitter.com/A4Xmr4MBmI</a></p>&mdash; ZachXBT (@zachxbt) <a href="https://twitter.com/zachxbt/status/1700647644073279849?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 9, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

On a related note, a user using the alias Satoshi 767 on X has raised questions regarding the adequacy of Vitalik's security measures for his X account. Satoshi 767 commented:

"While it pains me to bring this up, it may be prudent for Vitalik to acknowledge his role in this unfortunate security lapse and consider offering compensation to those adversely affected."

Satoshi 767 went on to imply that he believes Buterin's oversight played a pivotal role in enabling the attack:

"Unless there was an internal compromise at X or Vitalik was coerced in person by a criminal resorting to threats, it's difficult to absolve him of negligence in this matter. Nevertheless, I highly doubt that such extreme scenarios were at play."

In response, ZachXBT challenged these allegations, underscoring the point that Vitalik's high-profile status makes him an attractive target for a diverse array of hacking attempts:

"At this juncture, we cannot definitively confirm whether a SIM swap was indeed the method used. Given Vitalik's elevated prominence, it remains plausible that he could have been subject to insider manipulation or a coordinated attack."

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