Bitcoin.org Website Inaccessible After Being Hacked by Apparent Giveaway Scam

The site could not be opened as of 05:44 UTC Thursday, after falling victim earlier in the day to an attack claiming it would double funds sent to it.

Sep 23, 2021 at 3:56 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 23, 2021 at 8:03 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin.org’s website has gone dark after falling victim to an apparent giveaway scam earlier Thursday.

  • As of 05:44 UTC Thursday, visitors to the site were greeted with “This site can’t be reached.” An entity or person who uses the pseudonym Cobra, who has been the site’s operator but whose current affiliation isn’t clear, said the site might be down while they were looking into the hack.
  • Earlier Thursday, a pop-up message blocked the homepage screen, inviting visitors to send money to a bitcoin wallet. The funds will be doubled and sent back, the message said. The message claims it is because the Bitcoin Foundation is “giving back to the community.”
  • The message said only the first 10,000 users could take advantage of the offer. The message included a QR code for the wallet as well as its address. All other site functionality at the time was limited as users couldn’t get around the message.
  • These messages are associated with giveaway scams; these schemes give false promises of doubling one’s funds after sending an initial amount to a wallet address via QR code. Victims, in fact, receive nothing in return and lose the crypto they sent.
  • CoinDesk has confirmed the messaging.

  • Bitcoin.org is an open-source project that aims to support Bitcoin development.
  • While it isn’t affiliated with the Bitcoin Foundation, it is often the first result on search engines when looking for “bitcoin.”
  • The giveaway scam’s address has received over $17,700 in small transactions as of the time of writing, according to bitcoin explorer blockchain.com.
  • In June, U.K. courts ordered the site to stop hosting the Bitcoin whitepaper over copyright infringement.
  • Just days later, the site was hit with a massive denial of service attack.

UPDATE (Sept. 23, 06:24 UTC): Updates with website being inaccessible.



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Eliza Gkritsi is a CoinDesk news reporter based in Asia.