Is Binance $250K Bounty To Expose Hackers Just A Marketing Campaign?


Elon Musk told visitors to South by Southwest on Sunday that AI “scares the hell” out of him, while the Chinese cryptocurrency exchange Binance is now offering $250K to anyone exposing the responsible parties for an attempted hack of the exchange last week.

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If you are planning to write a follow up on either story, Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of web security company High-Tech Bridge, has commented on both:


“The recent attack seems to have been quite well planned, organized and executed, and experienced professionals are most probably behind it. Even if Binance offers ten times more bounty, they are unlikely to get what they want. Professional Black Hats have ample skills and sufficient knowledge to cover their operations in a reliable manner and cut any traces. Also, the bounty offer is tricky: the information about attackers’ identity and their arrest may be disjunctive and unrelated matters, for example if attackers are located in an uncooperative jurisdiction or is a Nation-State hacking group. Therefore, this announcement seems more like a good marketing campaign.”


“Today, the ‘AI’ term is both amorphous and ubiquitous: many people unwittingly use it for a great wealth of unrelated topics and technologies. We are still far from the Strong AI, capable of replacing human in many different areas without continuous and thus expensive training. On the other side, Machine Learning (ML) technologies have proven their efficiency and capacity to outperform human in many precise, albeit limited, tasks such as Go or even Chess playing.

Financial institutions use ML algorithms to better score mortgage or leasing customers, insurances use ML to forecast customers’ susceptibility to diseases, even law enforcement have started using ML and Big Data to forecast crimes and better plan patrol routes. Nonetheless, there is no risk to humanity from AI, other than unemployment in particular sectors that can be fully automated by machines. I, however, remain optimistic: humans are still be able to concentrate their efforts on something more creative and valuable for society.”