Circle CSO’s Twitter Account Hacked by Scammers in Startling Breach

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Key Takeaways:

  • Hackers could gain access to a Circle CSO’s Twitter account and spread fake information about a USDC airdrop offered by the stablecoin issuer.
  • The post included a link to a website where users could register for a USDC “airdrop,” but the URL wasn’t under Circle’s control.

According to a statement made on March 22 by Circle, the company behind the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin, Dante Disparte’s Twitter account, has been hacked. Disparte is the company’s chief strategy officer (CSO) and head of worldwide policy. Disparte’s account allegedly started promoting fake loyalty rewards to long-time USDC users in a Tweet that was previously deleted.

Disparte’s account had previously tweeted before the compromise about the company’s regulatory advancements and its involvement in the ongoing Paris Blockchain Week. Less than a month earlier, owing to reserve deposits held by the now-defunct Silicon Valley Bank in the United States, the stablecoin temporarily lost its peg. Despite a minor discrepancy with the stablecoin’s peg still existing at the time of publishing, the issue has since been resolved, and USDC has been repegged.

The airdrop was advertised as compensation for users impacted by the USDC depeg, according to the fake statement. The tweet also contained a link to a website with what was probably a drainer’s false claim button. The hacker could take their tokens from anyone who pressed the button and authorized transactions in their wallets.

“To that end, we are pleased to announce that we will distribute a one-time bonus of USDC to all existing holders. This bonus is our way of thanking you for your continued support and trust in USDC.”

Soon after, phony Circle profiles started showing up on social media with claims to be able to restore users’ assets. Although the peg has largely been reinstated, since the beginning of the month, the amount of USDCs redeemed for fiat U.S. dollars has almost surpassed $10 billion. 

Some decentralized finance protocols allegedly had USDC hard coded as 1:1 in their smart contracts rather than representing their price on the market, such as the peg stability module of Maker DAO, a DAI stablecoin issuer. On the day of the occurrence, Maker DAO submitted an urgent plan to lessen the exposure of its USDC reserves, valued at 3.1 billion, which were used to collateralize DAI. Similar to USDC, DAI has largely reinstated its peg with the U.S. dollar, despite a minor difference.

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