Binance disables withdrawals after hackers steal nearly $41 million in Bitcoin
Hackers have stolen Bitcoin (BTC) worth over $40 million from the world’s largest digital currency exchange, Binance.
Binance disclosed the incident yesterday, hours after its chief executive officer Changpeng Zhao tweeted that the exchange was undertaking “some unscheduled server maintenance”. In a blog post on the company’s website, Zhao said that the hackers were able to withdraw 7,000 BTC in one transaction and provided further details about the incident.
“Hackers were able to obtain a large number of user API keys, 2FA codes, and potentially other info. The hackers used a variety of techniques, including phishing, viruses and other attacks. We are still concluding all possible methods used,” Zhao said, adding that the exchange might not have identified all affected accounts.
The hackers executed “well-orchestrated actions through multiple seemingly independent accounts” which allowed them to pass the platforms existing security checks. “It was unfortunate that we were not able to block this withdrawal before it was executed. Once executed, the withdrawal triggered various alarms in our system. We stopped all withdrawals immediately after that.”
Binance will use its Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU), which is stored in a cold wallet, to cover the losses. It also plans to conduct a thorough security review, which, it estimates, will take about one week.
Unsurprisingly, the market reacted negatively to the news. Bitcoin, which was on the verge of breaking above the $6,000 barrier yesterday, fell to as low as $5,795.01 in the opening hours of today’s trading, according to data from digital currency tracker Coinmarketcap. The digital coin has since managed to bounce back and is currently trading at around $5,900. Binance’s proprietary crypto token, the Binance Coin (BNB), has been the biggest loser in the crypto top 10, with its price falling to a near three-week low of $19.89 earlier today. At the time of writing, the BNB price stood at $20.82, marking a 6.4% loss for the coin over the most recent 24-hour period.
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