Larry Cermak breaks down why the Twitter hackers are amateurish

Episode 28 of Season 2 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Larry Cermak, director of research at The Block.

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The Block spends a lot of time on Twitter, combing the signal from the noise and looking out for market-moving memes. Sometimes that pays off.

On Wednesday, our Director of Research Larry Cermak noticed a tweet from a well-known trading account, @AngeloBTC, alerting its followers that it was launching a paid group. Cermak thought that was strange, and suspected that the account had probably suffered a hack.

An hour later, Binance's Twitter account posted a tweet that left virtually no doubt it had been hacked. "We have partnered with CryptoForHealth and are giving back 5000 BTC to the community," the tweet said, adding a link that it said its followers could use to see more information.

At first, Cermak and the rest of the team thought it might be a coincidence. Perhaps Binance and AngeloBTC were just both having a bad day? But once Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao's tweeted the same exact message, The Block began connecting the dots.

It wasn't long before celebrity accounts including tech pundit Elon Musk and presidential candidate Joe Biden fell victim to the far-reaching hack. The accounts displayed similar messages, each expressing a desire to "give back" by matching BTC payments to three different addresses.


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It took Twitter two and a half hours to remedy the breach, in part by temporarily disabling tweeting from all verified accounts. By Thursday morning, the hack was front-page news, and now the platform is in the crosshairs of Congress and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

On this week's episode of The Scoop, Cermak explained out how The Block first picked up on the biggest Twitter hack in history, and what the early hours of information gathering looked like. He also touched on:

  • The details that indicate the hack was either unplanned or executed by amateurs
  • What a front page BTC scam means for bitcoin adoption
  • The debate over Coinbase's move to block the addresses at the height of the hack
  • Where the stolen funds are now

Listen to this week's episode on Apple, GooglePlay, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Aislinn Keely is a reporter on The Block's policy team holding down the legal beat. She covers court decisions, bankruptcies, regulatory actions and other key moments in the legal sphere, putting them in context for the wider crypto industry. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV and helmed Fordham University's student newspaper. Send tips or thoughts on all things policy and legal to or follow her on Twitter for updates @AislinnKeely.