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A+ Mess: Controversial Weiss Cryptocurrency Ratings See DDoS Attacks, Fake Grading Leaks

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:03 PM
Colin Harper
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:03 PM

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.

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 .

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.

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.

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.