Cryptocurrency firm KuCoin ‘shocked’ by Twitter hacking

Security-conscious crypto exchange company rattled by Twitter security breach that struck some of the world’s most powerful people

A bird flies near signage displayed outside of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, July 16, 2020. As Twitter Inc. grapples with the worst security breach in its 14-year history, it must now uncover whether its employees were victims of sophisticated phishing schemes or if they deliberately allowed hackers to access high-profile accounts. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
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A leading cryptocurrency exchange has voiced its concerns after hackers took over its Twitter account along with more than 100 others belonging to some of the world’s most influential people and companies.

KuCoin, which since being founded in 2017 has grown to become one of the world’s most popular crypto exchange services with five million users, lost control of its official Twitter account during the cyberattack this week.

For a company that depends on providing high levels of security to its users, the breach at Twitter was of particular concern.

A spokesman for the company, Jing Cheung, told The National: "We are actually quite shocked at what's happening at Twitter."

“As a crypto exchange, security is our top priority,” he said.

“We have implemented plenty of security mechanisms to protect account security. That’s why it’s hard to imagine such a hack could happen to Twitter.”

The cyberattack is the biggest to have hit Twitter in its history.

Hackers are believed to have accessed Twitter’s internal systems to compromise the accounts of some of the platform's top voices, including US presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, former US president Barack Obama and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, and use them to solicit digital currency.

The high-profile accounts that were hacked also included rapper Kanye West, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and the corporate accounts for Uber and Apple.

In its latest statement, Twitter said the hackers were able to gain control to a "small subset" of the targeted accounts and send tweets from them.

The FBI is leading an inquiry into the incident, with several US politicians also calling for an explanation of how it happened.

The investigative agency said that cyber attackers committed cryptocurrency fraud in the incident.

Freely available blockchain records show the apparent scammers received more than $100,000 (Dh367,000) worth of cryptocurrency.

KuCoin said it was working closely with Twitter to investigate the hacking which, it added, was handling the matter “carefully and transparently”.

The company said it was looking into using a new, decentralised social media channel using the same blockchain technology that protects cryptocurrency transactions to provide greater security.