BitMart Bitcoin Exchange Loses $ 196 Million In ‘Bank Heist’ Crypto Hack

Hackers have stolen nearly $ 200 million worth of cryptocurrency after violating the popular crypto trading platform BitMart.

The Cayman Islands-based exchange confirmed that a “large-scale security breach” took place over the weekend, resulting in the loss of client funds. CEO Sheldon Xia said the company will compensate all affected users.

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The estimated losses are $ 100 million in cryptocurrency on the Ethereum blockchain and an additional $ 96 million in cryptocurrency on the Binance Smart Chain. No bitcoin appears to have been lost.

BitMart initially claimed that “there was no hack” and that the releases were normal withdrawals, claiming on its official Telegram channel that reports of a hack were “fake news”.

Mr. Xia later confirmed that a breach was identified, resulting from a stolen private key that gave access to two of the exchange’s digital wallets.

“BitMart will use our own funding to cover the incident and compensate affected users,” he said. “No user assets will be damaged. “

The exchange’s deposit and withdrawal functions have been temporarily suspended, but are expected to resume on Tuesday.

“It’s no surprise that the attackers are targeting cryptocurrency exchanges, in many ways it’s the new banks, making it a modern version of a bank robbery with arguably less risk and less. efforts “, Steve Forbes, cybersecurity expert at Nominet Web Registry, recounted The independent.

“As the threat of a ransomware attack continues to grow across all industries, cryptocurrency exchanges will be no exception. “

Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET, noted that using a decentralized exchange aggregator (DEX) to exchange stolen assets for Ethereum cryptocurrency (ETH), while simultaneously using a privacy mixer to file ETH, meant they would be extremely difficult to follow.

“The technology that holds cryptocurrencies back makes it far too easy to steal large sums of money, often with little or no trace of where the money went or who stole it,” said Mr. Moore.

“Sending funds to an Ethereum mixing service is increasingly common for those who want to avoid being tracked by authorities, so better upfront prevention for those with digital funds is vital to help mitigate this. growing trend. “

Additional layers of security, such as two-factor authentication, are recommended for users of cryptocurrency exchanges and custodial services, along with extra caution when dealing with suspicious emails that may be. phishing attempts to obtain login information.

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