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"We’ve been at the forefront of cryptocurrency exchanges since 2016, when we launched our XBTUSD perpetual swap. Fast forward to now and it remains the most traded cryptocurrency product of all time."


"Welcome to Crypto's most advanced trading platform." "Industry-leading security, no expiry dates, a 100% verified customer base and more, all contribute to making BitMEX Crypto’s most advanced trading platform." "BitMEX employs the latest in multi-factor security, inside and out. Safety is our primary concern."


"Early in the day on November 1, 2019, cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX sent a mass email to a large swath of its user base and included their email addresses in the “To” field, thereby compromising their privacy."


"BitMEX is a global business that sends emails to many different email providers. Email deliverability itself is a multi-layered problem, involving decades of work in building sender reputation systems and automatic spam filters. Unfortunately, this makes the job of large services such as BitMEX difficult at times: we only send mass emails to all users on rare occasions. We intend to keep a high signal-to-noise ratio, and only send emails when absolutely necessary."


"The index change we published on 1 Nov was of sufficient importance – it will impact pricing of all of our products – that we felt it necessary to inform all our users about it. However, bulk mail sends such as this are a difficult and complex undertaking when it’s on a global scale, to all recipients. Some mail servers, especially the global arms of large brands like Yahoo and 163, have very tight controls that are often triggered when we send large amounts of mail. For system notifications such as withdrawals, password resets, and liquidations, it is imperative that the customer receives mail dependably."


"To remedy this, we built an in-house system to handle the necessary rendering, translation, staging, and piecemeal (as not to trigger rate limits) sending of important email. BitMEX has not sent an email to every customer at once since 2017, and much has changed since then. When we initiated the send, it became clear that it would take upwards of 10 hours to complete, and there was a desire on the team to ensure users received the same material information on a more reasonable timescale."


"To handle this, the tool was quickly rewritten to send single SendGrid API calls in batches of 1,000 addresses. Unfortunately, due to the time constraints, this was not put through our normal QA process. It was not immediately understood that the API call would create a literal concatenated “To:” field, leaking customer email addresses. As soon as we became aware, we immediately prevented further emails from being sent and have addressed the root cause. Since then we have been aiding all who have been affected as best we can and mitigating the damage to contain the leak."


"BitMEX is a company that takes engineering seriously, and we are disappointed that this lapse in care has resulted in unwanted disclosure for our customers. We believe that processes, not engineers, are to blame for these failures. Our processes failed here. We are working around-the-clock to revamp them and to ensure that even the simplest-looking code changes are put under strict review."


"[T]he security misstep was initially flagged by one BitMEX member, who sent out a spontaneous reply-to-all PSA advising his fellow users to change their emails (while also taking the opportunity to promote his own Discord server)."


"We are aware that some of our users have received a general user update email earlier today, which contained the email addresses of other users."


"Our team have acted immediately to contain the issue and we are taking steps to understand the extent of the impact. Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to identify the root cause of the fault and we will be in touch with any users affected by the issue."


"The privacy of our users is a top priority and we are very sorry for the concern this has caused to our users."


"A screenshot of the email shared on Twitter showed dozens of email addresses visible in an email from BitMEX. The exchange has indicated that the email was a general user update."


“We are aware that some of our users have received a general user update email earlier today, which contained the email addresses of other users,” the exchange wrote in a statement on its blog. “Rest assured we are doing everything we can to identify the root cause of the fault and we will be in touch with any users affected by the issue.”


"Vivien Khoo, deputy COO of BitMex, explained to The Block that the email was sent to “the majority” of the exchange’s users and traced the cause to “an error in the software script used to send the emails.”"


"According to Larry Cermak, research and analysis director at cryptocurrency research platform The Block, 23,000 emails were exposed." “I now have access to 23,000 emails that were leaked by BitMEX,” Cermak said. “Surprisingly, there is only one person that used a .gov email. There were 66 students/alumni that used .edu email. NYU dominates (7 people), followed by Berkley, and University of Michigan.”


"After skimming through thousands of these emails, I must say that people fucking suck at op sec. The number of people that use first.last name or unique domains is unreal. My eyeball estimate is that ~70% of people can be doxx'd from the email alone."


“We are very sorry for the concern this has caused to our users.”


"BitMEX takes the privacy and security of our users very seriously. We are working around the clock to establish communication with all our users to provide any assistance and to ensure the continued safety of their account."


"We are continuing work to ensure this will not occur again in future, and will be introducing additional features to further protect our users. Further communications on this matter will be issued in due course."


"In the meantime, please find below some immediate guidance which should be observed in order to ensure the continued safety of your account:"


"Please be aware of phishing attempts. Emails from BitMEX are sent from “support@bitmex.com” and “noreply@bitmex.com”. Please add these email addresses to your contacts list to ensure that these emails do not land in your spam folder. BitMEX will never ask for your password."


"BitMEX will never ask you to transfer funds. The only way to fund your BitMEX account is to send bitcoin to your unique BitMEX deposit address. Your unique BitMEX deposit address will begin with “3BMEX” or “3BitMEX” and can be found on the deposit page of your BitMEX account."


"Please take note our official BitMEX communications channels. These are our primary, official social media communications channels and only instructions provided via these avenues should be observed."


"We would like to remind all of our users to please protect their accounts by using strong and unique passwords; enabling Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all of your accounts (both BitMEX and personal); and to use a password manager. Further advice can be found here."


"Beyond email addresses, at no point during this issue has any personal data or account information been disclosed."

After not releasing a global email to their entire customer base since 2017, Bitmex decided they would do the first one live, without any testing of their new script on a smaller email subset. The script was configured to send all emails in the "To" field instead of "Bcc" and sent emails in batches of 1,000. As a result, each customer received the email addresses of 999 others. In total, it's estimated that at least 23,000 email addresses were exposed.


In response, Bitmex apologized and provided customers with steps to better secure their accounts, including strong unique passwords and two-factor authentication.

Sources And Further Reading

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