Asset safety has become one of the top concerns for crypto investors, especially since last month’s Terra (Luna) debacle. In the midst of a global crypto market meltdown, investors are now suspicious of crypto exchanges and trading platforms as many of them are often affected by scams and scams.
In an email interaction with financialexpress.com, Tigran Gambaryan, VP, Global Intelligence and Investigations at Binance, shares how the world’s largest crypto exchange is handling security issues to protect the interests of its users. Edited excerpts:
Have you encountered scams on the Binance platform? How do you deal with that?
Binance’s security and investigations team has dealt with many different types of scams and frauds over the years. Binance actively monitors and has successfully identified various exchangers, nested services, and individual accounts associated with criminal and terrorist activity as part of our ongoing Bulletproof Exchanger project.
We identify suspicious activity through our AML detection system, which uses signal intelligence techniques. We also analyze the connections to other exchangers and nested services typically used by criminal and terrorist groups. We also work with public law enforcement agencies and private sector AML organizations to monitor suspicious activity. From the first accounts provided by our partners, we conduct investigations that allow us to expand the suspicious network by identifying other connections or indicators of compromise.
Finally, Binance goes beyond industry standards to detect bad actors through proactive measures and collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders. We proactively block users from sanctioned regions and do so via KYC and a variety of KYC/AML tools and providers including but not limited to, Jumio, Onfido, WorldCheck, Elliptic and CipherTrace.
How many attacks have there been this year and how did you deal with them?
As mentioned above, Binance’s security and investigations team has dealt with various types of scams and frauds, including attacks by hackers, over the years. For security reasons, we cannot disclose details about these attacks.
Binance has a 150-strong security and investigative team. We lead the industry in solving the toughest security problems, working across the public and private sectors to improve the overall sanitation of the crypto ecosystem. One of the ways Binance does this is by collaborating with law enforcement agencies around the world on a daily basis. We participate in law enforcement task forces dedicated to ransomware, human trafficking and nation-state hacking.
Binance is also investing heavily in skills, particularly on the security and investigative front. We use sophisticated blockchain analysis tools, dark web research software, data analysis and screening tools. Our team continues to grow as well, adding the best investigators in the crypto space from around the world.
We have many former law enforcement officers and federal investigators on our team, including myself, who was formerly a special agent with the Cybercrime Division of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) in Washington, DC. Most recently, we have appointed Jarek Jakubcek, a leading global cybercrime expert and former Europol cryptocurrency specialist, as Head of Intelligence and Investigations for the Asia Pacific region. This is a testament to the quality and talent of our investigative team.
What do you think of the crypto concerns raised by the RBI and the Indian government?
At Binance, we welcome recent efforts to build a regulatory framework for crypto and virtual assets in India. We look forward to engaging with relevant stakeholders to share regulatory best practices and initiate productive discussions on regulatory and tax frameworks that help comply with fundamental market principles while achieving investor protection and market development goals.
We also believe that there should be a collaborative approach between nations to define the right rules and guidelines for this space, as Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi mentioned at a recent conference.
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How Safe Are Investors’ Assets on Binance?
We are committed to ensuring compliance and protecting users worldwide. There are several initiatives that Binance has taken to ensure that users’ assets are safe on the Binance platform.
Binance is the first exchange to have a safe fund to protect users in extreme cases, also known as the SAFU fund. The $1 billion Secure Asset Fund for Users in January 2022. SAFU was specifically set up by Binance to protect users’ interests. There are also additional platform-level security measures that Binance adheres to.
Binance’s risk management system monitors every withdrawal attempt, password reset, two-factor authentication reset and email address change in real-time. Also, the Binance wallet and personal infrastructure have advanced security measures, including multisig and threshold signature schemes (TSS). Binance protects user data, personal information and KYC information encrypted in a data storage. More information about our efforts to protect users can be found here.
Binance is also the first company in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry to join the National Cyber-Forensics and Trading Alliance (NCFTA). NCFTA identifies, validates, mitigates, and neutralizes cybercrime threats. Through the strategic partnership, NCFTA develops and shares threat intelligence in the international efforts to combat and combat cybercrime.
Are Crypto Exchanges Doing Enough To Educate Users About Scams?
Information and education are among the best defenses against fraud and fraud. Closing the knowledge gap is an essential factor when it comes to crypto. Users have the right to accurate information about crypto assets without fear of becoming a victim of unfair or misleading advertising.
Through educational initiatives like the Binance Academy, Binance is committed to educating users on basic crypto practices, including wallet hygiene. Binance Academy is an open access blockchain and crypto learning portal that provides free educational resources in over 20 languages.
Binance also recognizes that as an industry leader, it is our fundamental responsibility to work with regulators to ensure the industry protects the interests of users. As a company, we believe that a well-regulated crypto market provides better protection for everyday users.
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What is Binance doing to protect traders from irresponsible trading behavior?
Binance has a responsible trading program that educates and reminds users to trade responsibly. We are the first exchange ever to implement such a program.
Binance has several procedures in place to remind traders of impulsive trading behavior. For example, if a trader experiences a losing streak or suffers a heavy loss, we continually remind them of the risk involved in trading derivatives and encourage them to refrain from trading activity.
To encourage self-discipline and responsible trading, Binance has introduced the Cooling-off Period feature, which allows users to temporarily disable derivatives trading and refrain from compulsive trading behavior.
The Cooling Off feature is also available in margin trading. Margin traders may temporarily suspend activities related to margin trading, including isolated or cross-margin trading, and cryptocurrency lending for a period of time.
What should Binance users do to ensure their funds are safe?
We put users at the center of our decisions, prioritizing their experience, security and privacy above all else. While we do everything we can to keep accounts secure on our platform, users also have the option to significantly increase the security of their accounts.
Users can take seven simple steps to ensure their cryptocurrencies are safely stored on Binance:
- Use a strong password and change it regularly
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA).
- Check the list of devices authorized to access your account
- Manage your payout addresses
- Find out about phishing and watch out for such scams
- Follow AP security guidelines
- Use Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) authentication
Binance is facing investigations in countries like the US. What would you say to Indian users after such research?
As the industry has grown rapidly, Binance has worked very diligently to educate and assist law enforcement and regulators in the US and internationally, while complying with new guidelines. We will continue to comply with all regulatory requirements.
(Cryptos and other virtual digital assets are not regulated in India. They are considered extremely risky to invest in. Please consult your financial advisor before making any investment decision.)