Dallas, Texas – Mark Cuban, the billionaire businessman and investor known for his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks and role on ABC’s Shark Tank, recently revealed he was the victim of a cryptocurrency scam that drained nearly $1 million from his wallet.
The scam first came to light on September 15th when a user on the social media platform X posted a screenshot from a blockchain tracker showing a series of transfers out of a wallet in Cuban’s name, all within a few minutes of each other. Cuban later confirmed to crypto news site DL News that the transfers were unauthorized and that his wallet had indeed been compromised.
According to DL News, approximately $870,000 in various cryptocurrencies including Ethereum, Polygon, and USD Coin were stolen from Cuban’s wallet. The wallet had reportedly been inactive for 160 days prior to the theft.
Cuban believes the breach occurred after he downloaded a corrupt version of MetaMask, a popular cryptocurrency wallet manager browser extension. “I went on MetaMask for the first time in months. They must have been watching,” Cuban told DL News. He suspects the downloaded software contained malicious code that gave hackers access to steal the contents of his wallet once he logged in.
This type of attack, known as a trojan horse, disguises malware inside what appears to be legitimate software. Once installed, it can give hackers backdoor access to a victim’s system and files or trick the victim into handing over login credentials or other sensitive information. Phishing attacks via email are another common vector used to distribute trojans and other malware.
Cybersecurity experts say attacks targeting cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges have been on the rise, and even seasoned crypto investors like Cuban can be vulnerable. The decentralized and semi-anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies makes them an attractive target for cybercriminals.
“This breach serves as a reminder that everyone is at risk of cyberattack,” said David Kennedy, CEO of cybersecurity consulting firm TrustedSec. “Taking basic precautions like avoiding suspicious links and downloads and using authentication protections can go a long way towards keeping your digital assets secure.”
The Cuban Saga Continues
This is not the first time Cuban has made headlines in the cryptocurrency space. The billionaire has been a vocal proponent of blockchain technology and digital assets for years, even allowing the Mavericks to accept Bitcoin as payment for tickets and merchandise. However, his optimism has been dampened recently.
Earlier this year, the value of Titan, a DeFi token Cuban endorsed in 2021, plummeted from over $60 to near zero in what was described as a “bank run” event. Cuban was hit with a class action lawsuit from investors alleging he misled them into buying the now worthless asset.
While Cuban denied any wrongdoing, the episode seems to have soured his outlook on the cryptocurrency industry. “I got hit like everyone else,” Cuban said in a recent interview. “It was an expensive lesson, but I learned it.”
The latest wallet drain now puts Cuban out nearly $2 million from his crypto mishaps. For most individuals, that kind of loss would be financially devastating. For a billionaire like Cuban, it’s a drop in the bucket. Nevertheless, being made a victim while a hot Web3 trend turns cold could bruise any investor’s ego.
How to Avoid Becoming the Next Victim
Cuban’s experience serves as a cautionary tale for the masses diving into the cryptocurrency space. Industry experts say basic cyber hygiene is a must, including:
- Never downloading software or apps from unverified sources. Stick to official app stores like Google Play and the Apple App Store which scan for malware.
- Enabling multi-factor authentication on exchanges and wallet apps to prevent unauthorized logins.
- Regularly updating devices and software to patch security vulnerabilities.
- Using unique complex passwords for every account, and never reusing passwords across multiple accounts.
- Never clicking suspicious links in emails, texts, direct messages, etc. Verify legitimacy before inputting login credentials.
- Setting email spam filters to maximum and avoiding opening attachments from unknown senders.
- Being wary of any unsolicited contact requesting sensitive information like account numbers, login IDs, or passwords.
Experts also recommend storing large cryptocurrency balances in “cold wallets” – devices not connected to the internet – when not actively trading. This protects against online attacks.
Finally, only investing what you can afford to lose. The volatility and novelty of crypto markets make them a hotbed for scams and manipulation. Heeding warnings from leaders like Cuban can help the public make educated decisions and avoid costly mistakes.