A+ Mess: Controversial Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings See DDoS Attacks, Fake Grading Leaks
Originally published on: CCN
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January 25, 2018
Last week Weiss Ratings, a US financial research and investment grading agency located in Palm Beach, FL, announced that it would be releasing the world’s first professionally rating cryptocurrency grades. The grades were scheduled to be released Wednesday, January 24th, and would include popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, EOS, NEM, Monero, and so on.
But on the eve–and day of–their release, Weiss ran into a few speed bumps and roadblocks when trying to distribute the inaugural grades.
Distributed Denial of Service Attack Impedes Release
The night before the grades’ official release, the Weiss Ratings website experienced a DDoS attack from Korean actors, the agency claims.
According to a blog post published this morning by the Weiss Ratings team, “Weiss Ratings staff was up all night last night fending off denial of service attacks from Korea, as evidenced by numerous mentions on Korean social media of a concerted call to bring down the Weiss Ratings website.” Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D, believes that the attack was an “attempt to thwart [the ratings] release today.”
The post continues to explain that Weiss Ratings rarely gets visitors from Asia, the majority of its traffic coming from American viewers. Last night, however, it attracted 100,000 unique visitors “in a matter of hours, almost entirely from Asia.” Come morning, this traffic transferred to Europe, and the Weiss Ratings IT staff accommodated the influx of visitors by expanding the site’s server capacity via cloud services.
The DDoS attack left Weiss’s website temporarily incapacitated, with users unable to access the site in the morning hours of January 24th. Currently, the website is fully operational again.
Meanwhile, Fake Grades Make their Rounds Online
Following the DDoS attack, a series of fake ratings began surfacing across the internet on the day of the true ratings’ release date.
One such fake included an erroneous release date (January 25th) and gave Tonix an A++ grade, a rating that does not exist under Weiss’ system.
Just got a preview of the #Weiss #crypto ratings forwarded to me by a friend that has a paid subscription. He said he got an email from Weiss Ratings with a preview of the top #altcoins. Looks like #TRX did quite well! pic.twitter.com/1Fc3S9tbbB
— Victoria lamb (@Victori06039966) January 24, 2018
Copies of this fake report shortly went viral, reaching various platforms. A Steemit post of the fraudulent ratings was published this morning, only to be removed after community members provided evidence that the report in question was illegitimate. Additionally, the report hit Reddit on r/cryptocurrency, as well, with its users raising the alarm to its blatant inconsistencies.
In response to these fake ratings, Weiss tweeted that its consumers should tread carefully around such fraudulent reproductions, redirecting them instead to Weiss’ cryptocurrency subdomain.
Urgent consumer alert: Beware of fake cryptocurrency ratings posted on Twitter accounts and the Internet. The only true Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings are at https://t.co/ec61TcJlDE
— Weiss Ratings (@WeissRatings) January 24, 2018
The Jury’s Still Out
Numerous post on Reddit and tweets have since surface publicizing seemingly legitimate ratings. If we cross-check these ratings with the tease grades that Weiss mentions in one of its blog posts–Bitcoin (C+), Ethereum (B), Novacoin (D), Steemit (B-)–the ratings seem to check out.
Full #Weiss ratings are out. Here you go..#Bitcoin #Ethereum #Cryptocurrency #Altcoins #Crypto #BTC #ETH #LTC #XMR #TRX #XLM #DOGE #QTUM #DASH #SC #ADA #ETC #LSK #NEM #XRB #BCC #XRP #LEND #CND #XVG #EOS #NEO pic.twitter.com/lwCYK77Bq2
— Thenakedcow (@MartiniCow) January 24, 2018
Still, some community members are not convinced. One Twitter user called for caution when evaluating the report, arguing that “[it] looks like [Weiss’s website] got hacked” and charging individuals to not “take any ratings for granted, [sic] until we have official confirmation.
Careful! Nobody noticed that #weissratings website has changed completely!? It looks like they got hacked – don’t take any ratings for granted, until we have official confirmation from @WeissRatings pic.twitter.com/Gl1eEcWu0k
— f-anz’s (@f_anzs) January 24, 2018
Further, links circulating on Reddit to the official ratings don’t send browsers to the list we’ve seen retweeted. Instead, users find themselves looking at jumbled text overlapping itself in what appears to be a pdf copy of Weiss’s cryptocurrency ratings subdomain, with no discernable chart in sight.
One publication CoinSquare, however, released a statement following an article on the ratings’ release that may dispell such doubts. The statement reads:
“Update: Coinsquare confirmed via telephone with Weiss Ratings that the ratings were released today (January 24th, 2018). Weiss further clarified, going against rumours, that their site was not hacked. Weiss also confirmed they own https://weisscryptocurrencyratings.com/ and their statement announcing the ratings is accurate.”
According to an order page on Weiss’ cryptocurrency website, subscribers can enjoy full access to Weiss’ cryptocurrency ratings service for $468.
Featured image from Shutterstock.