Discord has attracted significant investments of almost a billion dollars ($995M) in 15 funding rounds to date and is backed by multiple investors. Arcane Group and Flat Capital as the latest to fund the platform. The presence of 10 lead investors, including Flat Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group, during various funding rounds such as Series H, indicates strong backing from the venture capital community.
Partners like Sebastian Siemiatkowski have also played a pivotal role, further strengthening Discord’s financial and strategic position. Notably, even firms like Sony Interactive Entertainment and Franklin Templeton Investments have recognized the value Discord brings to digital interaction.
Is this all under threat though? Has the company’s strategy of refusing to use customer services to help users yielded the right results? Let’s find out.
People Behind the Platform
According to Zippia, Discord’s executive team, led by co-founder and CEO Jason Citron, showcases a wealth of experience from diverse backgrounds in technology and innovation. Citron, having steered Discord from a gaming-focused platform to a broader communication tool, is joined by Stanislav Vishnevskiy, CTO and Co-Founder, whose technical expertise has been instrumental in the platform’s development and CFO Tomasz Marcinkowski, who was previously at Pinterest.
Heather Sullivan heads human resources as Chief People Officer, while Mak Azadi’s role as COO indicates his extensive experience in leading teams within both established companies and startups. Tesa Aragones, the Chief Marketing Officer, contributes her award-winning innovation in brand marketing, further strengthening Discord’s positioning in the market. Other board members include Allison Goldberg, Danny Rimer, Josh Elman, Stephen Gillett and Ruth Chang.
August Data Breach
The Discord platform experienced a severe data breach compromising over 760,000 user records. This breach was first detected on August 14 when the compromised data appeared for sale on clandestine cyber markets. The perpetrator, known by the pseudonym ‘Akhirah,’ provided sample records as evidence of the breach’s validity, which was subsequently confirmed by Discord.
In response, Discord ceased all operations to mitigate further risks and initiated a forensic inquiry. Preliminary findings suggest the breach originated from a code vulnerability on Discord.io’s portal, granting unauthorized database access to the assailant. The breach’s scope is extensive, encompassing a range of user data, from basic account details to potentially sensitive personal information. This incident not only raises questions about the security protocols employed by Discord but also underscores the importance of rigorous cybersecurity measures within the digital communication sector.
Core Security Issues
The security of Discord, a widely-used communication platform, has been under scrutiny following a series of hacking incidents that have left many users vulnerable and dissatisfied with the platform’s response. A data breach in Discord’s system was reported after a support agent’s account was compromised, exposing email addresses and logs of conversations between users and support agents. This breach is indicative of a larger issue: Discord’s vulnerability to phishing attacks, a method by which hackers deceive users into clicking malicious links that appear to come from trusted sources. Once clicked, these links can lead to account takeovers, even when two-factor authentication (2FA) is enabled.
Users have expressed frustration over Discord’s support system, which has been described as unresponsive and ineffective in the wake of such security breaches. Cases have been documented where users have struggled to regain control of their accounts for extended periods. One programmer and Discord user, Edward, recounted his experience with the support team, which involved repetitive communication and closed tickets without resolution. Another user, Cib, faced similar issues but eventually regained access to his account after ten days and contradictory information regarding the reset of 2FA.
The problem is further compounded by the lack of clear communication from Discord in addressing these security issues. Users who have had their accounts compromised find themselves facing significant barriers to recovery, with Discord’s help center providing limited and sometimes conflicting information about account recovery processes. This has led to a loss of personal and financial information for some, highlighting the severity of the situation.
Discord’s public response to these incidents has been to direct users to their educational posts on recognizing and avoiding scams. However, this approach does not address the immediate needs of users who have already fallen victim to such attacks. The company’s strategy seems to focus on prevention rather than active support for those affected, which does little to assuage the concerns of users demanding more robust security measures and a more reliable support structure.
The incidents underscore a crucial aspect of online platforms: the need for strong, proactive security measures and a support system capable of effectively and efficiently responding to user issues. As these hacking cases demonstrate, even the presence of security features like 2FA may not be enough without diligent user education and a responsive support team ready to assist when security breaches do occur.
An Unfortunate Statement
Discord CEO Jason Citron’s statement that “15% of our workforce is dedicated to trust and safety” has sparked conversations about the platform’s commitment to user security. This assertion, made during a ‘Mad Money’ interview with Jim Cramer, alleges that the company’s acknowledges trust and safety as a critical aspect of its operations. But does that show in actions?
While the figure underscores a significant allocation of resources toward these concerns, it also invites scrutiny from users and industry observers regarding the effectiveness of these measures, especially in light of recent security challenges. Citron’s comment comes amid broader discussions about user growth, strategic partnerships, and the company’s future in the public market.
The Verus Discord Hack
In a concerning development for the crypto community, Verus Discord has reported a severe security breach by sophisticated hackers on December 1, 2023. This alarming incident underscores long-standing issues surrounding Discord’s platform security and the responsiveness of its customer service.
The breach was significant enough to prompt urgent communication from community members, cautioning users against trusting any announcements made on the compromised Verus Discord channel. The community was urged to actively engage with Discord’s official channels to highlight the urgency of the situation and save unaware users from losing their money. But to no avail.
In an even more tragic turn of events, Michael Toutonghi, lead of the Verus project, and legitimate owner of the server found himself wrongfully banned in the wake of the attack, rendering him unable to rectify the situation. Despite multiple reports and pleas for assistance, Discord’s support team was criticized for their lack of response. This unresponsiveness to this date is exacerbating the community’s vulnerability to ongoing scams and misinformation.
As of December 4, there was no reported progress, with Discord and its support team absent from the dialogue despite numerous reports that should have raised a flag internally. The inability to promptly recover the account of Toutonghi, who could potentially thwart the hackers’ activities, points to a critical need for Discord to bolster its security measures and customer service responsiveness. This event has left the Verus community in a precarious position, highlighting the broader implications for security and trust in online platforms.
The hackers did not compromise the Verus network itself but used a session hijack exploit in conjunction with social engineering to gain control over the server. The project notes that a faster and more accurate response from Discord’s support could have mitigated the extent of the damage.
The attackers established trust over several weeks, posing as journalists to access the server. They manipulated the server founder’s account to take control, remove admins, and post scam announcements. With a lack of help from Discord’s support, the Verus team has been unable to regain control of its original server and has warned all members against engaging with its current content.
In response to the breach, the Verus community has launched a new Discord server with enhanced security measures. They remain hopeful for a dialogue with Discord on improving platform security and are exploring additional safeguards, including leveraging VerusID for stronger security. The community invites members to join the new server and continue contributing to the decentralized blockchain protocol conversation.
Discord Hacks: A Dark Cavernous Pit
A Discord hack can feel like being ensnared in a dark, cavernous pit, teeming with serpents — each click is a potential strike from these digital vipers. Users, paralyzed by the venom of uncertainty, watch helplessly as the hacker, like a sinister puppeteer, manipulates the server, planting malicious links like traps. These links, once followed, can drain unsuspecting victims of their assets, mirroring the silent theft of a snake in the night.
This scenario transforms into an even more harrowing spectacle when the server under siege is at the heart of a cryptocurrency community, where high-frequency trading is the norm. In these digital dens, the stakes are exponentially higher, and the hacker’s interference can result in devastating financial losses. Each malicious post is a fanged threat, and the constant tension mirrors a horror show where the contestants are locked in a relentless game of survival against a hidden and ever-present menace.
Editor note: Discord was approached for a comment but did not respond.
- Lucy Walker is a journalist that covers finance, health and beauty since 2014. She has been writing for various online publications.
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