In the wake of Binance’s recent shutdown, cybersecurity researcher and cryptocurrency advocate John McAfee apologized to the company and CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao over the former’s involvement in speculative discussions regarding the origins and nature of the alleged hack on the exchange.
McAfee went on Twitter on Sunday, saying: “I would like to apologize to Binance and to CEO Changpeng Zhao for my part in the FUD regarding their outage last week. As a long time cyber security professional, my instincts, coupled with numerous reports which were dubious in nature, overrode my better judgment. Forgive me.”
The FUD regarding Binance’s shutdown includes speculations that the exchange wasn’t able to fully contain the damage of the distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) made on their globally distributed servers.
After Binance announced that it is back online, McAfee stated on Twitter that while he wasn’t “trying to spread FUD,” he has “received dozens of reports” similar to his earlier assertion in the thread that he wasn’t able to use Binance. McAfee stated that he was only “trying to understand” the situation, adding that given his experience as security researcher, he knew that “potential hacks are far more easy to solve if investigated immediately. Days later magnifies the task by orders of magnitude.”
The claim made by McAfee was coupled with a screenshot of what appeared to be a message from Binance’s website acknowledging that they were attacked and compromised. In a reply within the thread, McAfee made the following assertion: “There has never been, in the history of hacking, a single f** company that admitted to being hacked without being pushed.”
These allegations were later disproved, with Binance posting a public ledger pointing to their wallet addresses. Anyone looking into the provided wallet address may fact check for its history, current amount, as well as pending and unconfirmed transactions.
An official recap of the incident was posted by Zhao via LinkedIn Pulse, detailing how 1.7% of Binance users were affected by a data corruption. In the same writing, Zhao mentioned McAfee and thanked the cybersecurity researcher for his contributions to how the incident was resolved.
“The real helper was Mr. Mcafee, posting an obvious fake image about us being hacked. Everyone pitched in to help defend us. He united the community for us, and rallied such support, during a time when we needed it the most. Sometimes, things that look negative are actually positive,” said Zhao, who also defended McAfee, saying that the cybersecurity researcher was “completely innocent”, and was merely “asking the wrong questions.”
At a time when fear, uncertainty, and doubt override user confidence in companies and even cryptocurrencies around which communities are built, showing full transparency and accountability over incidents that impact lives is key to sustaining growth and inclusion. While the Bitcoin Cash community is also affected by the recent shutdown, there is also a lesson here on how to face a complaining crowd spreading rumors: stick to the facts, do what needs to be done, and keep on doing what is right for the community.