One or more criminals have stolen 50 million dollars worth of ethereum in a major crypto heist from South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit. The exchange confirmed that 342 thousand ETH was stolen, and assured that the loss will be covered by its own assets. As a result the company has currently suspended all withdrawals and deposits.
The thief or hacker moved 342.000 ETH from Upbit’s own wallets to a new wallet. Because of this, the account is now labelled as “Upbit Hacker 1” on blockchain observation portal Etherscan. In addition very small amounts of ETH poured into the hacker’s wallet from a variety of addresses in the hours following the hack.
Upbit was making crypto transfers from its hot wallets to its cold wallets. The exchange moved Tron, BitTorrent Tokens, EOS, Status Network Tokens, Stellar, OmiseGo and EOS. At the same time the cyber criminal stole the $50 million worth of ETH. The timing of the theft makes some believe that the heist was an inside job.
Other exchanges heed the call
In a published statement Upbit requests other exchanges and the crypto community to block any deposits from the hacker’s address. As a result cryptocurrency exchange Binance and other industry players have already confirmed their participation in the blockade.
This is not the first time that CEO Changpeng Zhao of Binance is pro-active in blocking accounts from hackers. For example, in January a hacker stole 16 million dollars worth of cryptocurrencies from Cryptopia. He moved some funds to Binance. Zhao immediately announced to freeze the account associated with the hack.
However, Binance isn’t safe from hacks itself. In May a criminal or group of criminals hacked the exchange. They managed to gain access to an active ‘hot wallet’, and moved 41 million dollars worth of cryptocurrencies. At that time Zhao declared that all users would be fully reimbursed by the exchange.
The Upbit crypto heist is not unique. It’s the second time this year that cyber criminals steal money from a South Korea cryptocurrency exchange. Bitthumb lost $13 million in March, while hackers stole $40 million from Coinrail last year.
Also published on Medium.