Former IBM Salesman Loses $2 Million After Hacker Hijacked His Accounts

Hackers appear to be targeting YouTubers exposing details about their trades such as usernames and addresses and the tools they use. Balina, Saddington and Bosak lost cryptocurrencies by way of their accounts being hacked. They say they have learned their lessons to not expose their trades and the tools they use, on YouTube through vlogs or other videos.   

A former IBM salesman Ian Balina has lost around $2 million of his cryptocurrency holdings after a “hacker” took control of his accounts.

The YouTube personality shares information through YouTube live streams on how he earns from cryptocurrency trades. And on April 14, he shared screenshots revealing that his portfolio was around $3 million.

On Sunday, he could not log in to his Google Spreadsheet account that he uses to track initial coin offerings. Reportedly, a hacker had hijacked the accounts.

Sharing their trades publicly

It appears that hackers are targeting YouTubers now because they share a lot of information about their holdings. For instance, video analytics platform Tubular Labs says that 122,000 videos on cryptocurrencies were uploaded on YouTube. They attracted 328 million views.

Some users reveal crucial information such as apps, usernames, and cryptocurrency addresses, as well as the systems they use to secure their holdings, which makes them more easy to target by hackers.

These might serve as blueprints for hackers. It is not clear whether he contacted Google for help with passwords or other methods for recovery of account. He said his Telegram channel was deleted and suspects the hacker illegally gained access to his email, which was in list as a backup email for his account. After this, his Evernote account, where he stored his private keys and passwords, was hacked. He is working with FBI to identify the attackers.

Peter Saddington, the host of Decentralized TV on YouTube said he used to share his trades but learned that it was not a good idea. He was hacked last year. His phone number was transferred to someone else by way of a social engineering attack via Verizon’s customer service.

He lost 13 years of emails and a significant amount of money that changed his life, he says. He requested that his mobile phone carrier does not allow for changes into his account unless he shows up in person with an ID.

One lesson: he has stopped using social media accounts and emails on his phone and though still a Bitcoin trader, he keeps them in locations he cannot easily access. He constantly gets attack attempts to change is passwords and hack WiFi and printer due to his high profile.

However, although most hacks in cryptocurrencies happen through crypto exchanges. According to Chainalysis website, most scammers have found a soft way to disappear with investors’ money. You just say you were hack and disappear.

Another New York startup founder Cody Brown fell victim of Sim-jacking scam in 2017. His takeaway: never expose your trades or exchanges you deal with publicly and online.

Kenn Bosak, host of the YouTube show Pure Blockchain Wealth, also lost $20,000 worth of cryptocurrencies last year. The hacker deleted his Facebook and deactivated his Twitter and YouTube accounts in addition to this. Saddington has notified Binance and Kucoin about the attack.

Have you exposed any of your trades and details that can make you an easier target to hackers? What steps are you taking now?

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David Kariuki is a journalist who has a wide range of experience reporting about modern technology solutions including cryptocurrencies. A graduate of Kenya's Moi University, he also writes for Hypergrid Business, Cryptomorrow, and Cleanleap, and has previously worked for Resources Quarterly and Construction Review magazines.

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