There’s trouble out at the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange right now, and no one’s exactly sure just who’s to blame. Hackers have been mentioned, but so too has a glitch at the credit card level. While an exact cause has yet to be pinned down, there’s problem enough to go around, and unraveling the mess may take some time.
The word is that Coinbase has been making several unauthorized charges to customer bank accounts, hot on the heels of news that the X-Force security team out of IBM announced that hackers were currently targeting a cryptocurrency exchange. X-Force claimed the attack was two-tiered in nature, taking both bitcoin and credit card details to allow hackers to buy cryptocurrency in customers’ names.
Customers were claiming that, after making a purchase in cryptocurrency on Coinbase, Coinbase would make several charges to the accounts in question. Some claimed as many as five charges following one purchase, and one noted fully 50 duplicate charges adding up to a total of $67,000. That customer was poised to stage legal action.
Coinbase itself, meanwhile, admitted that there were some overcharges, but pointed the finger squarely at Visa, which was the result of Visa both reversing and recharging transactions. Coinbase noted no responsibility for the matter, and further noted that it was working with Visa to reimburse all customers impacted by the issue. However, some are suggesting that Coinbase may have been hacked by a version of the TrickBot malware system, noteworthy as TrickBot’s developers were said to have interest in attacking Coinbase.
What’s odd, though, is that it seems so far like only Visa cardholders using Coinbase had been impacted by this. There’s no mention of Mastercard, American Express or Discover cardholders hit here, which does suggest that it may be a problem at one credit card company. When you consider that a lot of banks lately have been having issues with bitcoin—some are even forbidding customers spending money on cryptocurrency—it isn’t out of line to suggest that some of Visa’s policies got cross-channeled and the result is a system at loggerheads.
That’s just speculative, of course, and we’ll likely hear more about this in the weeks to come. Still, for those affected, it’s not good news, and it will likely get worse before it gets better.