Mixin Network, a decentralized cryptocurrency system, was recently hacked with a massive $200 million confirmed to be stolen. BitMart, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange, bore the brunt of this assault, with China’s PeckShield blockchain analytics firm providing real-time tracking of the theft since it began on Saturday.
Following the breach, Sheldon Xia, BitMart’s CEO, promptly addressed the matter on Twitter, assuring that BitMart would dip into its reserves to offset the losses experienced by its users.The official statement from BitMart, released on Saturday, elucidated: “A significant security breach was detected today in one of our Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain hot wallets. At present, we are striving to determine the exact technique exploited.
The hackers managed to exfiltrate assets totaling about $150 million USD.” Hot wallets, which are designed for instant cryptocurrency transfers, are vulnerable due to their internet connectivity. In contrast, cold wallets ensure that crypto funds remain offline, offering enhanced security.
However, PeckShield’s assessment hinted at a greater loss than what BitMart’s preliminary figures suggested. The firm tweeted, “Estimated total loss is approximately $200M, split across Ethereum (~100M) and Binance Chain (~96M). Our initial calculations only accounted for the Ethereum losses.”
A BitMart representative shared with Information Security Media Group: “We are actively collaborating with law enforcement agencies to address this breach. We’re closely monitoring the cybercriminals’ movements in hopes of reclaiming the siphoned funds. It’s crucial that the entire crypto sector unites to combat these malicious entities. BitMart is grateful for the widespread support.”
Andrew Rose, a CISO at Proofpoint, weighed in on the trend of crypto-related cybercrimes. He stated, “For cybercriminals, raiding cryptocurrency platforms is increasingly appealing over other digital crimes like ransomware attacks, given the faster payouts and lesser effort involved. There’s a growing realization that the protective measures of these crypto platforms aren’t as advanced as they should be, given the vast sums they handle.”
Update from BitMart CEO
On Monday, Sheldon Xia further communicated via Twitter that the company “has wrapped up its initial security assessments and identified the compromised assets.” He added that the root cause of the breach was a stolen private key. The CEO also mentioned engaging with various project teams to determine the optimal solution, such as token swaps. Furthermore, Xia emphasized that users’ assets remain safe and that withdrawal and deposit functionalities are set to resume shortly.
Recent Surge in Cryptocurrency Thefts
This isn’t the first such incident in the crypto world. Last week, the decentralized finance platform BadgerDAO suffered a considerable breach where the attackers pilfered approximately $120 million. Meanwhile, Celsius Network lost $55 million in wrapped bitcoin due to a breach, as reported by CryptoPotato.
In August, the cross-chain protocol Poly Network suffered a landmark hack, with losses amounting to a staggering $612 million in cryptocurrency. Following the breach, the hacker, dubbed “Mr. White Hat,” showed interest in returning the stolen assets. Although the motivations remain a subject of debate, all assets were eventually returned.
While these breaches underline the volatile nature of the crypto space, they also emphasize the need for heightened security measures and cooperation within the crypto community.
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