In what's the latest crypto heist to target the decentralized finance (DeFi) space, hackers have stolen digital assets worth around $160 million from crypto trading firm Wintermute.
The hack involved a series of unauthorized transactions that transferred USD Coin, Binance USD, Tether USD, Wrapped ETH, and 66 other cryptocurrencies to the attacker's wallet.
The company said that its centralized finance (CeFi) and over-the-counter (OTC) operations have not been impacted by the security incident. It did not disclose when the hack took place.
The digital asset market maker, which provides liquidity to more several exchanges and crypto platforms, warned of disruption to its services in the coming days, but stressed that it's "solvent with twice over that amount in equity left."
"We are (still) open to treat[ing] this as a white hat, so if you are the attacker – get in touch," the company's founder and CEO, Evgeny Gaevoy, said in a tweet.
Details surrounding the exact exploit method used to perpetuate the hack is unknown at the moment, although Gaevoy said the attack was likely caused by a "Profanity-type exploit" in its trading wallet.
Wintermute further acknowledged it did use Profanity, an Ethereum vanity address generation software, alongside an in-house tool to generate addresses with many zeros in front as recently as June.
The open-source project is currently abandoned by its anonymous maintainer, who goes by the moniker johguse, citing "fundamental security issues in the generation of private keys."
Profanity, incidentally, also came under spotlight last week after decentralized exchange (DEX) aggregator 1inch Network disclosed a vulnerability that could be abused to recompute the private wallet keys from addresses created using the utility.
Subsequently, the attack vector was exploited by malicious actors to drain $3.3 million from Ethereum addresses made with Profanity on September 16, 2022.
The Wintermute breach is the latest attack on DeFi protocols, including that of Axie Infinity, Harmony Horizon Bridge, Nomad, and Curve.Finance in the past few months. Some of these thefts have been attributed to the North Korea-backed Lazarus Group.
According to a report from Bishop Fox published in May 2022, security incidents pummeling DeFi platforms resulted in losses to the tune of $1.8 billion in 2021 alone, with the services experiencing an average of five hacks per month.
"In most cases, the attack came from a vulnerability in Smart Contracts or in the very logic of the protocol," the company noted. "Another important vector was the compromise of wallets and their private keys."