Thief steals $1 million of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs with Instagram hack

A hacker has stolen NFTs worth millions of dollars after compromising the official Instagram account for Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and using it to post a phishing link that transferred tokens out of users’ crypto wallets.

The hack was disclosed on Twitter by BAYC just before 10AM ET on Monday morning. “There is no mint going on today,” the Tweet read. “It looks like BAYC Instagram was hacked.”

Another tweet from a user unaffiliated with the project claimed to show the image that had been posted from the BAYC account, promoting an “airdrop” — essentially a free token giveaway — for any users who connected their MetaMask wallets.

Unfortunately, BAYC’s warning came too late for a number of holders of the extremely expensive Bored Ape NFTs, along with many other valuable NFTs stolen in the hack. A screenshot posted by one Twitter user showed an OpenSea page for the hacker’s account receiving more than a dozen NFTs from the Bored Ape, Mutant Ape, and Bored Ape Kennel Club projects — all presumably taken from users who connected their wallets after clicking on the phishing link.

The profile page tied to the hacker’s wallet address was no longer visible on OpenSea at time of publication. OpenSea head of communications Allie Mack confirmed to The Verge that the hacker’s account had been banned on the platform, as OpenSea’s terms of service prohibited fraudulently obtaining items or otherwise taking them without authorization.

But given the decentralized nature of NFT, the contents of the hacker’s wallet can still be viewed on other platforms. Seen through NFT platform Rarible, the wallet contained 134 NFTs, among them four Bored Apes and many others items from projects made by Yuga Labs — the creators of BAYC — such as Mutant Apes and Bored Ape Kennel Club.

Independently, each of the stolen Apes is worth well into six figures based on the most recent sale price. The lowest priced Ape, #7203, last sold four months ago for 47.9 ETH — equivalent to $138,000 at current exchange price. Ape #6778 was last sold for 88.88 ETH ($256,200), while Ape #6178 sold for 90 ETH or $259,400. And Bored Ape #6623 was the most valuable of all, sold three months ago for 123 ETH ($354,500) — meaning that collectively the total value of the four stolen Apes is just over $1 million.

It is not known yet how the hacker was able to compromise the project’s Instagram account. In a statement sent to The Verge by email and also posted on Twitter, Yuga Labs said that two-factor authentication was enabled at the time of the attack and that the security of the Instagram account followed best practices. Yuga Labs also said that the team was actively working to establish contact with affected users.

Though NFTs can be bought and sold for huge sums of money, they are often held in smartphone wallets rather than more secure environments because the popular decentralized crypto wallet application MetaMask only supports NFT display on mobile. It also encourages users to manage NFTs through the smartphone app rather than the browser-based extension. This means that the use of Instagram to deliver a phishing link is an effective way to steal NFTs, as the phishing link is more likely to be interacted with from a mobile wallet.

While security advice in the crypto space suggests NFT holders never connect their wallet to an unknown or untrusted third party, the fact that the phishing link was sent through the official BAYC social media account likely convinced the victims that it was legitimate, raising difficult questions about where exactly the fault lies.

Yuga Labs did not respond to an email from The Verge asking whether victims of the hack would be compensated by the project for their losses.

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Doki Doki Literature Club is Still a Master of Horror

Doki Doki Literature Club! is a psychological horror game dressed as a cutesy anime dating sim — and it’s also one of the internet’s worst-kept secrets. In fact, some marketing materials say it right in the description. What’s less apparent is how it separates itself from other horror games with the way it disrupts your sense of normalcy and breaks your favorite characters like dolls in the process.

I played Doki Doki Literature Club to celebrate Halloween because I knew it was a horror game. However, I didn’t know how it was a horror game until I experienced it for myself. Creator Dan Salvato told Kotaku that he took inspiration from “things that are scary because they make you uncomfortable, not because they shove scary-looking things in your face.” Doki Doki Literature Club! faithfully follows his description as it establishes a norm that it pulls out from under your feet. It scares players with the stark contrast between its first two arcs and warns them to watch their step as they click through the dialogue.

High school horror

As advertised, Doki Doki Literature Club! starts as your typical high school romance. It’s something familiar to anime trope lovers across the internet. You play as the bland male protagonist who could use some excitement in his life. His childhood friend drags him into joining the Literature Club, which just happens to be full of cute girls. Understandably, he takes it as an opportunity to learn about more than just literature.

Players write poems using seemingly random words that appeal to specific characters. Some words like “starscape” match Yuri, the introverted bookworm who prefers imagery in her poems. More romantic words like “daydream” better suit Sayori. Players witness different cutscenes related to these characters depending on which girls like their poems. If you choose cutesy words to cater to Natsuki, then you learn more about her during the next cutscene. You can also choose who to work with on festival preparations, how to disrupt a club argument, and so on. However, that all goes out the window after the game takes a bloody turn.

how to write poems in ddlc

The ending of the first act establishes a new norm: Choices no longer matter. After the first character dies, they appear as a glitchy mess on the title screen. All the save files are gone, so redos are out of the question. Once you attempt a new game, you find a rewritten premise without the dead character. It becomes more and more obvious that the game isn’t going to work the way you thought it did. It really makes you think, “Wow, they had me in the first half.”

The protagonist, who at least had a trace of a personality in the first act, has seemingly disappeared. He becomes a non-character — or just a vessel that the player uses to experience the game. There’s no commentary on the creepy glitches or interactions. Only the player experiences the jump scares, bloated black text, and snaps in character. 

natsuki confiding in protagonist

It’s not just how the game works, though. It’s how the characters act. Players know enough about the characters from the first act to have an idea of how they typically behave. Even the characters in the game note how they don’t feel like themselves or that the others seem to be acting more strangely than usual. There’s just enough of the core game left that it’s hard to predict what will really happen and who the next victim might be. 

I didn’t play Doki Doki Literature Club! completely blind. Still, I feared what the next textbox would bring once I realized that act two was a brand new game. Subtle changes hinted at the upcoming surprises — like an uncharacteristic facial expression or black text bubbles with strange, bloated letters. Once the moment passed, I would ease up, only for the emotional roller coaster to charge uphill again.

Sayori talking to Monika

Doki Doki Literature Club twists a fluffy dating sim into a high school horror that kills off your friends. It makes you question your choices and effectively limits them at the same time. If a game could have a mental breakdown, this would be it. That’s what makes it scary.  

Doki Doki Literature Club is one of the best free-to-play games available on PC. It also has an expansion available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and the Nintendo Switch for a price. It’s worth recommending to people who don’t like horror played straight. However, it isn’t suitable for children or easily disturbed folks.

Editors’ Choice

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Tech News

Spotify CEO can’t pay artists a penny per stream, wants to buy football club instead

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek may not have enough cash to pay musicians a penny per stream, but he can apparently afford a football team.

The Swedish billionaire wants to acquire English Premier League side Arsenal, and is reportedly working with three of the club’s most celebrated former players on a takeover bid.

Ek declared his interest on the same night thousands of Arsenal fans staged a protest against the club’s current regime. In typically tasteful and moderate style, they hung up an effigy of owner Stan Kroenke and a banner that read: “Kroenke-19: the American virus.”

Ek’s announcement sent supporters wild. The 38-year-old is worth a cool $4.7 billion, according to Forbes, and as a lifelong Arsenal fan would presumably be willing to splash a big chunk of cash on the club.

Musicians, however, have urged Ek to start paying artists fairly before buying a sports team.

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I’d also prefer Ek to plow more of his billions towards musicians, but as a long-suffering Arsenal fan, I’d cautiously welcome him to make an offer for the club. He surely can’t be worse than the current owners. Unlike them, he at least seems to actually like football.

And while even famous artists struggle to make a living from Spotify’s paltry payout rates, the compensation model could be more appropriate for Arsenal.

Instead of paying Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang £350,000 a week ($486,000), Ek could give him $0.00437 per goal, and use the savings to buy some new defenders.

He could also create a version of Spotify’s much-maligned “tip jar.” Fans could donate 50 pence to Dani Ceballos for every game he goes without diving — or £10 if he ever scores a goal.

The players certainly won’t like it, but the supporters would bloody love it. If Ek gives them free Spotify subscriptions for good measure, they’ll be singing his name from the stands.

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