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Crooks steal NFTs worth ‘$3m’ in Bored Ape Yacht Club heist

Crooks stole non-fungible tokens (NFTs) said to be worth about $3 million after breaking into the Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Instagram account and posting a link to a copycat website that sought to harvest marks’ assets. 

The bogus post promised a free airdrop – basically, a promotional token giveaway – to users who followed the link and connected their MetaMask crypto-asset wallets to the scammer’s wallet. Rather than getting free stuff, victims instead had their digital pocketbooks cleaned out.

“It looks like BAYC Instagram was hacked. Do not mint anything, click links, or link your wallet to anything,” Bored Ape Yacht Club tweeted Monday morning in a warning that came too late for some of its members. Bored Ape Yacht Club, or BAYC, is a collection of pictures that depict passionless primates in various poses and costumes, and can be used as internet profile avatars; they usually sell for thousands of dollars in crypto-coins.

Yuga Labs, the outfit that created Bored Ape Yacht Club, told The Register miscreants stole four Bored Apes, six Mutant Apes, and three Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs, plus “assorted other NFTs estimated at a total value of ~$3m.”

“We are actively working to establish contact with affected users,” a Yuga Labs spokesperson said, adding that its hijacked Instagram account did have two-factor authentication enabled, “and the security practices surrounding the IG account were tight.”

“Yuga Labs and Instagram are currently investigating how the hacker was able to gain access to the account,” the spokesperson said.

This is the second breach that the NFT collection has suffered in less than a month. On March 31, Bored Ape Yacht Club confirmed its Discord server had been breached. In this earlier attack, a cybercriminal stole one NFT: Mutant Ape Yacht Club #8662, according to security firm PeckShield.

Also in March, following Bored Ape Yacht Club’s ApeCoin cryptocurrency debut, crooks stole about $1.5 million after claiming a large number of tokens using NFTs that they did not initially own and pulling off fraudulent flash loans. Flash loans are awarded and paid back in a single blockchain transaction – it can take just seconds to get the money and return it.

These and other recent attacks highlight the growing security concerns around NFT and cryptocurrency technologies.

In research published Monday, Check Point’s threat hunters detailed a flaw they found in the browser version of the Ever Surf cryptocurrency wallet. If exploited, this could have given thieves full control over a targeted user’s wallet, the security shop explained.

And earlier this month, criminals exploited a now-fixed design flaw in the Rarible marketplace to steal an NFT from Taiwanese singer and actor Jay Chou. The miscreants then sold it for about $500,000. ®