Cryptocurrencies

Two Alleged Ethereum ‘Scam Forks’ Appropriating Users’ Private Keys, Report Finds

By January 11, 2019 No Comments

This article was originally published here.


Altcoins Ethereum Nowa (ETN) and Ethereum Classic Vision (ETCV) are reportedly appropriating the private keys of users trying to redeem their allegedly forked coins. The suspected scam was covered in a report sent to Cointelegraph by the Guarda Wallet development team on Jan. 11.

The official website of the Ethereum Nowa project — which doesn’t contain a white paper — describes the process that users are supposed to engage in to obtain ETN. According to the website, the user should first send ETH to an address, and then export the private key and redeem the cryptocurrency using the dedicated online tool.

A user on Ethereum block explorer Etherscan has commented on the aforementioned address, asserting that the address is engaging in a “scam [hard] fork/airdrop” after warning “Don’t send anything here.” The tool to claim the coins appears to be a clone of the well-known online Ethereum (ETH) wallet MyEtherWallet (MEW), featuring the original logo, website title and page under a different domain.

The main difference compared to the original MEW interface is that all the options that let the user chose how to access the wallet are greyed out, other than the one allowing the user to paste in their private key. Furthermore, some browsers flag the tool as a “Deceptive Site.”

The Guarda Wallet team wrote that, analyzing the code, they found out that the private key is not only being processed by the tool, but also being sent to a remote server. According to the Guarda report, Ethereum Nowa “is a way for the thieves to get your private information and gain access to your wallet.”

Ethereum Classic Vision’s hard fork, according to the project’s white paper, is happening today (Jan. 11) at 20:00 GMT. The website contains links to a downloadable Windows and Linux wallet alongside a web tool. Near the “Claim fork” button, the website states:

“Regardless of which authorized wallet you use to hold your ETH, your free ETCV will be initially sent to the official Ethereum Classic Vision wallet. While we are currently in negotiations with a number of popular wallets, at the moment of the fork we will not be able to send ETCV to those wallets due to certain differences in the algorithms used.”

The Guarda Wallet team noted that while this project looked more solid than ETN, after closer examination, they reportedly found that the ETCV team also appropriated the private keys of the users:

“The analysis on the code performed by our team has shown that the piece of code provided actually sends your private key data on the Ethereum Classic Vision servers, masking it as an API token.”

As Cointelegraph recently reported, a Maltese actor and two hosts of a local TV show have notified the police after a fake news piece indicated that they are involved in a Bitcoin investment scheme called Bitcoin Revolution.

Furthermore, the same day, news broke that the Twitter account of a Belgian non-profit was evidently hacked and made into a fake affiliate account of United States crypto exchange Coinbase.

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