Third-Party Breach Exposes OpenSea Emails to Criminals

  • By Patrick Ryan
  • Jul 06, 2022

OpenSea, the popular NFT platform, suffered a significant data breach. The NFT trading marketplace endured yet another attack. However, customer emails were the target of this attack. The NFT and crypto industries are clearly in the crosshairs of hackers as we transition to the second half of 2022.

How Did the Hack Occur?

A rogue employee went to the extent of downloading OpenSea's database for email addresses. Someone shared the email database with an unauthorized third-party unrelated to the company and its customers. The employee in question is an email delivery vendor, meaning the individual had access to the company's email.

What Information was Exposed?

Fortunately, this attack only exposed the email addresses themselves. The email content remains secure. The release of the email content would have likely led to increased exploitation risks since the content is often more valuable.

Who Does the Attack Target?

The attack zeroed in on individuals with an email address registered with OpenSea. Though the hack did not affect all OpenSea customers, it affected enough for the company to release a statement detailing how every OpenSea customer should assume the hack gave access to their email account. Unfortunately, this is a significant hack as OpenSea has processed nearly two million transactions on its platform.

How did OpenSea Respond to the attack?

Aside from notifying customers of the breach, OpenSea has taken other steps to clean up this digital mess. OpenSea's head of security, Cory Hardman, informed the media and the company's customers that an employee who works for an email vendor downloaded and transmitted the customer list. OpenSea responded by publicizing the breach and also stating that there will likely be additional phishing attempts to follow. OpenSea representatives also contacted law enforcement authorities for assistance with the matter.

How is the Attack Performed?

Though digital security specialists are still attempting to understand the nuances of the attack. Right now, law enforcement knows the threat actor tried to reach targets through email addresses that look similar to an official OpenSea email domain such as "opensea.org" yet are different.

Will the Attack Cripple OpenSea?

This attack may be one of the straws contributing to breaking the metaphorical camel's back. OpenSea has recently suffered multiple breaches and platform problems as the cryptocurrency market has taken a massive nosedive. Some who follow the industry insist the ongoing data breaches combined with the decreasing price of cryptocurrency and NFTs have the potential to lead to a significant decline in consumer interest and a surprisingly abrupt falloff in the value of such alternative investments.

Has the Threat Been Contained?

At this point, it appears as though authorities contained the attack. However, the threat actors behind the attack can alter their strategy. A forensic investigations company is working with OpenSea and analyzing how the email attack performs to better understand how to keep it suppressed and prevent similar attacks from arising in the future. Furthermore, the employee who contributed to the attack has been suspended from their post until the investigation is complete.

How to Prevent Similar Attacks

The most important thing businesses and consumers can do is update their digital security safeguards. Be wary of shady-looking emails, especially those that attempt to impersonate supposed employees with OpenSea. Enhance your cyber security protections, provide your team with the appropriate training to safeguard your investment in tech, and err on the side of caution as opposed to risk.

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