Summary: We have observed an increased number of unauthorised attempts to access customer accounts. We would like to remind all customers and users to please protect your BitMEX and personal accounts by: using strong and unique passwords; enabling Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your accounts; and using a password manager.
Security has always been the number one priority at BitMEX. This is why we were the first platform to adopt a manual multi-signature cold wallet setup to protect customer funds. We are consistently reviewing our security protocols and improving our standards. We remain committed to continual improvement of our platform security and the security of our customers.
In 2016, following a large botnet credential reuse attack, we published a blog post highlighting the importance of using unique passwords on BitMEX. In addition, we recommended enabling 2FA. 2FA, sometimes referred to as ‘two-step verification’ or ‘multi-factor authentication’, adds an additional layer of security to your account by requiring not only your username and password at login, but also the input of a unique, time-based token. Tokens can be stored on a cell phone within a software-based authenticator app such as Google Authenticator or Authy.
This message was as true and relevant then as it is now: to protect your account, you should always use strong unique passwords, in combination with a multi-factor authentication solution and password manager.
More recently, we have witnessed an increased number of attempts to compromise or obtain unauthorised access to customer accounts. Enabling 2FA on your account is the best and easiest way to protect yourself from these attacks.
Furthermore, we have observed a continued increase in the sophistication and tactics utilised by financially motivated criminals. One example of this: rather than the attacker immediately executing a withdrawal request, we have observed attackers trading funds out of accounts by deliberately making losses against another account which they also control. We have proactively identified a number of these attacks, and continue to eliminate this activity as it is detected.
Another recurring tactic observed in account takeovers is the disabling of BitMEX email login notifications following unauthorised account access. An attacker may also attempt to enable 2FA on a compromised customer account in order to create an API key with withdrawal permissions. A common thread in almost all cases is that customers may not have seen a withdrawal notification or other account related email notification; for example, a login notification.
While we review practices such as enforcing 2FA and other login access features, we have made the following changes:
- Customers can no longer disable login notification emails. The login notification emails will now be sent regardless of existing notification preferences.
- Withdrawal requests issued via the API must always complete an email verification step to confirm a withdrawal, unless the API key used was created before 8:00PM June 10, 2019 (UTC).
These changes are a step toward increasing account security for our customers, however it is important to realise that this is not the full solution. Enabling 2FA remains our strongest recommendation.
In addition to the above, BitMEX has reviewed each and every account takeover experienced by our customers and we have identified several common factors among compromised accounts:
- Password reuse, or use of trivially guessed passwords on the BitMEX platform and on customer personal email accounts.
- Compromised personal email accounts leading to account theft via password recovery flows.
- Malware on customer computers leading to secure password theft and subsequent login to the bitmex.com platform.
In order to combat these attacks, adopting a vigilant, disciplined approach to security is key. In all of the above scenarios, utilising 2FA greatly decreases the risk of account compromise. This is further highlighted by recent research by Google that has shown that 100% of attacks can be blocked if a security key has been used for 2FA.
While we consider mandatory enforcement of 2FA across our customer base, we will again stress the importance of adopting good security practices as outlined below.
Note that these steps should be taken not only on your BitMEX account but on personal accounts where you store any confidential information:
- Enable 2FA
- Use a strong unique password and utilise a Password Manager such as LastPass
- A strong password consists of at least ten characters (and the more characters, the stronger the password) that are a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (@, #, $, %, etc.). Passwords are typically case-sensitive, so a strong password contains letters in both uppercase and lowercase.
- Do NOT use the same passwords for your social media accounts such as Facebook, Spotify or Instagram accounts as you would for your BitMEX trading accounts or bank accounts. Use strong, unique and different passwords for each and every account!
- Assess your existing risk
- Check to see if your password has been leaked in a third-party breach via services like HIBP.
- Check your trading accounts on a regular basis to ensure that you know what the balances are or should be.
- Regular reconciliation of your accounts would be a useful way for you to ensure all transactions in your accounts are with your authorisation.
- Add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contacts list and ensure our emails are not landing in your SPAM folder
- Ensure that you are not filtering official communications from bitmex.com. These communications include login and withdrawal notifications.
- BitMEX support will NEVER ask for your account password
At BitMEX, we take security very seriously. Whilst we continue to evolve our security capabilities both externally and internally, security is ultimately everyone’s responsibility. If you have digital funds on your online accounts, it is critical that you take steps to ensure your account safety/security as above.
If you observe any unusual activity on your account, please contact our Support team immediately via our contact page.