Surya's Essays

What happened to my About section?

HN under attack after Keybase airdropped thousands of cryptocurrency tokens

TLDR: HN accounts were under attack after Keybase was giving money for free

Recently, Keybase decided to airdrop 2 billion Lumens (XLM) since the Stellar Development Foundation wanted a good way to get a good user base. Although I can't attest to how well that's working (most if not all people I've heard have either donated it to non profits like the Tor Project or have just converted it to USD or BTC), it's caused a problem Keybase may or may not have foreseen, at a larger scale than they probably imagined:

To qualify for this airdrop, you needed a Github, HackerNews, and a Keybase account to be all linked together before September 9th.

"To qualify: you must have a Keybase account registered before this announcement OR if you're new to Keybase, you must connect your Keybase account to a GitHub or HackerNews account that was registered before this announcement. This is to prevent bot signups to Keybase." -

So if you were a hacker, the only logical thing to do is start excavating all the old dusty accounts of HackerNews and (presumably Github, although I haven't heard or seen anything regarding them)

Less than a week later Keybase updated their page saying the following:

"UPDATE September 16: HackerNews was under a pretty heavy attack by people who wanted to brute-force steal accounts and gain karma through crappy comments. We are no longer qualifying new users based on old HN accounts." -

Daniel (dang) from HN seemed to have seen this attack during or before this announcement, so he made a logical decision to "shadow ban" the "about" sections on HN accounts

My account for example, had the following about section:


[ my public key:; my proof: ]

Verifying my Blockstack ID is secured with the address 1CTjzmSHCtErwukiYjfX2vr1DdnYEsCBKa"

But for some odd reason this never showed up in my about section (when going to incognito mode to check it out publicly). After emailing Daniel about this, he described that he pulled the curtain on accounts that had Keybase verifications to prevent from attacks.

In his words, he "tagged" accounts that had this verification, although I'm not sure which accounts were particularly tagged as I see some accounts with a description with their Keybase verification and those who (presumably) have an about section with a Keybase verification and a hidden about section.

When your account is tagged, your "about" section doesn't show up, regardless of what you inserted (which is what happened to my account).

How will this be solved?

Daniel mentioned this will restriction will be removed soon after the wave of attackers settle down.

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