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U.S. Arrests Two and Seizes $3.6 Billion Cryptocurrency Stolen in 2016 Bitfinex Hack

U.S. Arrests Two and Seizes $3.6 Billion Cryptocurrency Stolen in 2016 Bitfinex Hack
February 09, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Justice Department (DoJ) on Tuesday  announced  the arrest of a married couple in connection with conspiring to launder cryptocurrency worth $4.5 billion that was siphoned during the  hack  of the virtual currency exchange Bitfinex in 2016. Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife, Heather Morgan, 31, both of New York, are alleged to have "stolen funds through a labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions," with the law enforcement getting hold of over $3.6 billion in cryptocurrency by following the money trails, resulting in the "largest financial seizure ever." Prosecutors charged the couple not for the hack itself, but rather for receiving the stolen bitcoin into a digital wallet under their ownership, a part of which was laundered to conceal the activities and the movement of the money. In 2019, Israeli authorities apprehended two brothers, Eli and Assaf Gigi, over their supposed involvement in the 2016 security breach. "Bitfinex will work with the Do

Hackers Steal $200 Million Worth of Cryptocurrency Tokens from BitMart Exchange

Hackers Steal $200 Million Worth of Cryptocurrency Tokens from BitMart Exchange
December 06, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cryptocurrency trading platform BitMart has disclosed a "large-scale security breach" that it blamed on a stolen private key, resulting in the theft of more than $150 million in various cryptocurrencies. The breach is said to have impacted two of its hot wallets on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain and the Binance smart chain (BSC). The company  noted  that the wallets carried only a "small percentage" of the assets." Hot wallets, as opposed to their cold counterparts, are connected to the internet and allow cryptocurrency owners to receive and send tokens. Blockchain security and data analytics company PeckShield  estimated  the total loss to be around $200 million, calling the whole chain of events as "Pretty straightforward: transfer-out, swap, and wash." "This security breach was mainly caused by a stolen private key that had two of our hot wallets compromised," BitMart's chief executive Sheldon Xia  said  in a series of tweets sent

Hackers Stole $5.4 Million From Eterbase Cryptocurrency Exchange

Hackers Stole $5.4 Million From Eterbase Cryptocurrency Exchange
September 10, 2020Swati Khandelwal
Cybercriminals successfully plundered another digital cryptocurrency exchange. European cryptocurrency exchange Eterbase this week disclosed a massive breach of its network by an unknown group of hackers who stole cryptocurrencies worth 5.4 million dollars. Eterbase, which has now entered maintenance mode until the security issue is resolved, described itself as Europe's Premier Digital Asset Exchange. Based in Bratislava, Slovakia, and launched in 2019, Eterbase is a small cryptocurrency exchange platform that focuses on crypto to SEPA integration (via individual IBAN accounts), multi-asset support, and regulatory compliance. On Monday night, malicious threat actors managed to raid six Eterbase's hot wallets for Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Tezos, Algorand, and TRON and transferred the funds into their wallets managed at six rival crypto exchanges, Eterbase reported on its Telegram channel on Tuesday. According to a tweet posted by the affected exchange, Eterbase t

2 Chinese Charged with Laundering $100 Million for North Korean Hackers

2 Chinese Charged with Laundering $100 Million for North Korean Hackers
March 02, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Two Chinese nationals have been charged by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and sanctioned by the US Treasury for allegedly laundering $100 million worth of virtual currency using prepaid Apple iTunes gift cards. According to a newly unsealed court document , the illicit funds originated from a $250 million haul stolen from two different unnamed cryptocurrency exchanges that were perpetrated by Lazarus Group , a cybercrime group with ties with the North Korean government. The two individuals in question — Tian Yinyin (田寅寅)  and Li Jiadong (李家东) — were both charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and money laundering conspiracy. Prosecutors said the defendants worked on behalf of the threat actors based in North Korea to allegedly launder over a $100 million worth of stolen cryptocurrency to obscure transactions, adding the hacking of cryptocurrency exchanges posed a severe threat to the security of the global financial system. It's worth notin

Binance Confirms Hacker Obtained Its Users' KYC Data from 3rd-Party Vendor

Binance Confirms Hacker Obtained Its Users' KYC Data from 3rd-Party Vendor
August 26, 2019Wang Wei
As suspected, the KYC details of thousands of Binance's customers that hackers obtained and leaked online earlier this month came from the company's third-party vendor, Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance confirmed. For those unaware, Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, hit by a " Potential KYC leak " earlier this month, with an unknown hacker distributing the Know Your Customer (KYC) images of hundreds of its users online and to media outlets. Before leaking the KYC images online, the alleged hacker threatened the exchange to release KYC data of its 10,000 customers if the company did not pay 300 Bitcoins—equivalent to over $3 million at today's exchange value. While Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao called the incident a fud (fear, uncertainty, doubt), the exchange recently confirmed that some of the leaked images match actual accounts though others show evidence of manipulation. According to an official blog post , t

Binance KYC Data Leak — Crypto Exchange Sets $290,000 Bounty On Blackmailer

Binance KYC Data Leak — Crypto Exchange Sets $290,000 Bounty On Blackmailer
August 07, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance has become a victim of a ransom demand from a scammer who claimed to have hacked the KYC (Know Your Customer) data of thousands of its customers. The unknown attacker threatened the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume to release KYC information of 10,000 users if the company did not pay 300 Bitcoins—that's equivalent to almost $3.5 million at today's exchange value. Although the authenticity of the hack is not confirmed yet, several photos of individuals holding their identity cards, such as passports and voter IDs, have been circulating across different online channels. In response to the incident, Binance just released an official statement today confirming that "an unidentified individual has threatened and harassed us, demanding 300 BTC in exchange for withholding 10,000 photos that bear similarity to Binance KYC data." Binance said the company is still investigating the legitimacy of those

Cryptocurrency Hacks Still Growing — What Does That Mean for the Industry?

Cryptocurrency Hacks Still Growing — What Does That Mean for the Industry?
May 14, 2019Wang Wei
Though once synonymous with underground networks and black hat hackers, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have gone mainstream over the past two years. In 2017, we saw the skyrocket of bitcoin to an all-time high of close to $20,000 followed by a significant decline the following year. But beyond the ups and downs in the market for the world's largest cryptocurrency is a much more sinister story revolving around cyber-attacks of the economy's newest asset class. In 2018, it estimated that as much as $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrencies were swindled away from investors (likely more) through a variety of means. Whether accomplished through hacking, phishing, or other forms of scamming, it's clear that the crypto industry is facing a serious dilemma with security. For a technological movement based on decentralization and the advantages it offers for security, the number of breaches occurring is startling. Cryptocurrencies offer users a way to send money with

Binance Hacked — Hackers Stole Over $40 Million Worth Of Bitcoin

Binance Hacked — Hackers Stole Over $40 Million Worth Of Bitcoin
May 07, 2019Mohit Kumar
Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, confirmed today that the company lost nearly $41 million in Bitcoin in what appears to be its largest hack to date. In a statement, Binance's CEO Changpeng Zhao said the company discovered a "large scale security breach" earlier on May 7, as a result of which hackers were able to steal roughly 7000 bitcoins, which worth 40.6 million at the time of writing. News of the hack comes just hours after Zhao tweeted that Binance has "to perform some unscheduled server maintenance that will impact deposits and withdrawals for a couple of hours." According to the company, malicious attackers used a variety of attack techniques, including phishing and computer viruses, to carry out the intrusion and were able to breach a single BTC hot wallet (a cryptocurrency wallet that's connected to the Internet), which contained about 2% of the company's total BTC holdings, and withdraw stolen Bitcoins

Hackers Steal $19 Million From Bithumb Cryptocurrency Exchange

Hackers Steal $19 Million From Bithumb Cryptocurrency Exchange
March 30, 2019Wang Wei
Hackers yesterday stole nearly $19 million worth of cryptocurrency from Bithumb , the South Korea-based popular cryptocurrency exchange admitted today. According to Primitive Ventures' Dovey Wan, who first broke the information on social media, hackers managed to compromise a number of Bithumb's hot EOS and XRP wallets and transferred around 3 million EOS (~ $13 million) and 20 million XRP (~ $6 million) to his newly-created accounts. The hacker then distributedly transferred the stolen digital assets to his different accounts created on other cryptocurrency exchanges, including Huobi, HitBTC, WB, and EXmo, via ChangeNow, a non-custodial crypto swap platform does not require KYC/account. Bithumb has been hacked multiple times in the past. Last time the popular cryptocurrency exchange was hacked in June 2018, when hackers stole $31 million, and in July 2017, when hackers stole $1 million worth of EOS from many wallets belonging to its users. "And this is the se

Critical Zcash Bug Could Have Allowed 'Infinite Counterfeit' Cryptocurrency

Critical Zcash Bug Could Have Allowed 'Infinite Counterfeit' Cryptocurrency
February 06, 2019Swati Khandelwal
The developers behind the privacy-minded Zcash cryptocurrency have recently discovered and patched a highly dangerous vulnerability in the most secretive way that could have allowed an attacker to coin an infinite number of Zcash (ZEC). Yes, infinite… like a never-ending source of money. Launched in October 2016, Zcash is a privacy-oriented cryptocurrency that claims to be more anonymous than Bitcoin, as the sender, recipient, and value of transactions remain hidden. In a blog post published today, the Zerocoin Electric Coin Company—the startup behind Zcash—revealed that one of its employees, Ariel Gabizon, discovered the vulnerability in its code on 1st March 2018, the night prior to his talk at the Financial Cryptography conference almost a year ago. Gabizon contacted Sean Bowe, a Zcash Company's cryptographer, immediately after discovering the counterfeiting vulnerability, as dubbed by the team, and the team decided to keep the flaw secret in order to avoid the risk o

Cryptocurrency Firm Loses $145 Million After CEO Dies With Only Password

Cryptocurrency Firm Loses $145 Million After CEO Dies With Only Password
February 04, 2019Mohit Kumar
QuadrigaCX, the largest bitcoin exchange in Canada, has claimed to have lost CAD 190 million (nearly USD 145 million) worth of cryptocurrency after the exchange lost access to its cold (offline) storage wallets. Reason? Unfortunately, the only person with access to the company's offline wallet, founder of the cryptocurrency exchange, is dead. Following the sudden death of Gerry Cotten , founder and chief executive officer QuadrigaCX, the Canadian exchange this week filed for legal protection from creditors in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court until it locates and secures access to the lost funds. In a sworn affidavit filed by Cotten's widow Jennifer Robertson and obtained by Coindesk , Robertson said QuadrigaCX owes its customers some CAD 260 million (USD 198 Million) in both cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum, as well as fiat money. However, Robertson said the cryptocurrency exchange only has smaller amount in a 'hot wallet' (U

First Hacker Convicted of 'SIM Swapping' Attack Gets 10 Years in Prison

First Hacker Convicted of 'SIM Swapping' Attack Gets 10 Years in Prison
February 04, 2019Swati Khandelwal
A 20-year-old college student who stole cryptocurrency worth more than $5 million by hijacking victims' phone numbers has pleaded guilty and accepted a sentence of 10 years in prison. Ortiz was arrested last year on charges of siphoning millions of dollars in cryptocurrency from around 40 victims using a method commonly known as " SIM swapping ," which typically involves fraudulently porting of the same number to a new SIM card belonging to the attacker. In SIM swapping, attackers social engineer a victim's mobile phone provider by making a phony call posing as their target and claiming that their SIM card has been lost and that they would like to request a SIM swap. The attackers attempt to convince the target's telecommunications company that they are the actual owner of the phone number they want to swap by providing required personal information on the target, like their SSNs and addresses, eventually tricking the telecoms to port the target's pho

Ethereum Classic (ETC) Hit by Double-Spend Attack Worth $1.1 Million

Ethereum Classic (ETC) Hit by Double-Spend Attack Worth $1.1 Million
January 08, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has suspended all transactions of Ethereum Classic (ETC)—the original unforked version of the Ethereum network—on their trading platforms, other products and services after detecting a potential attack on the cryptocurrency network that let someone spend the same digital coins twice. Why is this attack concerning? The heist resulted in the loss of $1.1 million worth of the Ethereum Classic digital currency. The digital currency immediately fell in price after the news came out. Coinbase revealed Monday that it identified "a deep chain reorganization" of the Ethereum Classic blockchain (or 51 percent attack of the network), which means that someone controlling the majority of miners on the network (over 50%) had modified the transaction history. After reorganizing the Ethereum blockchain, the attackers were able to what's called "double spend" about 219,500 ETC by recovering previously spent coins from the rightfu

StatCounter Analytics Code Hijacked to Steal Bitcoins from Cryptocurrency Users

StatCounter Analytics Code Hijacked to Steal Bitcoins from Cryptocurrency Users
November 08, 2018Mohit Kumar
Late last week an unknown hacker or a group of hackers successfully targeted a cryptocurrency exchange with an aim to steal Bitcoins by compromising the web analytics service it was using. ESET malware researcher Matthieu Faou this weekend spotted malicious JavaScript code on up to 700,000 websites that were bundled with the traffic tracking code from the leading web analytics platform StatCounter . However, after analyzing the code, the researchers found that hackers managed to compromise StatCounter and successfully replaced its tracking script with malicious JavaScript code primarily designed to target customers of the Gate.io cryptocurrency exchange. Like Google Analytics, StatCounter is also an old, but popular real-time web analytics platform reportedly being used by more than two million websites and generates stats on over 10 billion page views per month. Here's How Hackers Tried to Steal Bitcoins from Crypto Exchange Though the malicious code was also inject

KICKICO Hacked: Cybercriminal Steals $7.7 Million from ICO Platform

KICKICO Hacked: Cybercriminal Steals $7.7 Million from ICO Platform
July 30, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Again some bad news for cryptocurrency users. KICKICO, a blockchain-based initial coin offering (ICO) support platform, has fallen victim to a suspected cyber attack and lost more than 70 million KICK tokens (or KickCoins) worth an estimated $7.7 million. In a statement released on its Medium post on July 26, the company acknowledged the security breach, informing its customers that an unknown attacker managed to gain access to the account of the KICK smart contracts and the tokens of the KICKICO platform on last Thursday at around 9:04 (UTC). KICKICO admitted that the company had no clue about the security breach until and unless several of its customers fell victim and complained about losing KickCoin tokens worth $800,000 from their wallets overnight. However, after investigating, the company found that the total amount of stolen funds was 70,000,000 KickCoin, which, at the current exchange rate, is equivalent to $ 7.7 million. KICKICO reported that suspected attackers

BTC-e Operator, Accused of Laundering $4 Billion, to be Extradited to France

BTC-e Operator, Accused of Laundering $4 Billion, to be Extradited to France
July 17, 2018Swati Khandelwal
In a legal extradition tug-of-war between the United States and Russia, it seems France has won the game, surprisingly. A Greek court has ruled to extradite the Russian cybercrime suspect and the former operator of now-defunct BTC-e crypto exchange to France, instead of the United States or to his native Russia, according to multiple Russian news outlets. Alexander Vinnik , 38, has been accused of laundering more than $4 billion in bitcoin for criminals involved in hacking attacks, tax fraud and drug trafficking with the help of BTC-e crypto exchange. BTC-e, a digital currency exchange service operating since 2011, was seized by the authorities right after Vinnik's arrest in northern Greece in late July 2016 at the request of US law enforcement authorities. Vinnik is also accused to the failure of the once-most famous Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox , which was shut down in 2014 following a series of mysterious robberies, which totaled at least $375 million in Bitcoin

600 Powerful Bitcoin-Mining Computers Worth $2 Million Stolen In Iceland

600 Powerful Bitcoin-Mining Computers Worth $2 Million Stolen In Iceland
March 05, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Around 600 powerful devices specifically designed for mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been stolen from Icelandic data centers in what has been dubbed the "Big Bitcoin Heist." To make a profit, so far criminals have hacked cryptocurrency exchanges , spread mining malware , and ransomware —and even kidnapped cryptocurrency investors for ransom and tried to rob a bitcoin exchange , but now the greed has reached another level. The powerful computers are estimated to be worth around $2 million, Associated Press reports , and are used to generate cryptocurrency that at the time of this writing are worth $11,500 each. The theft, which took place between late December and early January, is one of the biggest series of robberies Iceland has ever experienced, according to law enforcement. "This is grand theft on a scale unseen before," said Police Commissioner Olafur Helgi Kjartansson of the southwestern Reykjanes peninsula. There were four differe

Someone Stole Almost Half a BILLION Dollars from Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange

Someone Stole Almost Half a BILLION Dollars from Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange
January 26, 2018Wang Wei
Coincheck, a Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange, has suffered what appears to be the biggest hack in the history of cryptocurrencies, losing $532 million in digital assets (nearly $420 million in NEM tokens and $112 in Ripples ). In 2014, Mt Gox , one of the largest bitcoin exchange at that time, filed for bankruptcy after admitting it had lost $450 million worth of Bitcoins. Apparently, the cryptocurrency markets reacted negatively to the news, which resulted in 5% drop in Bitcoin price early this morning. In a blog post published today, the Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange confirmed the cyber heist without explaining how the tokens were stolen, and abruptly froze most of its services, including deposits, withdrawals and trade of almost all cryptocurrencies, except Bitcoin. Coincheck also said the exchange had even stopped deposits into NEM cryptocurrencies, which resulted in 16.5% drop in NEM coin value, as well as other deposit methods including credit cards. Durin

Yikes! Three armed men tried to rob a Bitcoin Exchange in Canada

Yikes! Three armed men tried to rob a Bitcoin Exchange in Canada
January 25, 2018Wang Wei
As many non-tech savvy people think that Bitcoin looks like a Gold coin as illustrated in many stock images, perhaps these robbers also planned to rob a cryptocurrency exchange thinking that way. All jokes apart, we saw one such attempt on Tuesday morning, when three men armed with handguns entered the offices of a Canadian Bitcoin exchange in Ottawa, and restrained four of its employees. The intruders then struck one of the employees in the head with a handgun, asking them to make an outbound transaction from the cryptocurrency exchange. A fifth employee in another cabin, who remained unseen in an office, called the police before any assets could be taken, and the robbers left empty-handed. One of the suspects arrested later Wednesday after arriving police officers saw him run into a ravine north of Colonnade Road and deployed "extensive resources," including K-9 unit officers, to find him, CBC News reports . "Police are looking for two additional suspects,

CEO of Major UK-Based Cryptocurrency Exchange Kidnapped in Ukraine

CEO of Major UK-Based Cryptocurrency Exchange Kidnapped in Ukraine
December 28, 2017Mohit Kumar
Pavel Lerner , a prominent Russian blockchain expert and known managing director of one of the major crypto-exchanges EXMO, has allegedly been kidnapped by "unknown" criminals in the Ukranian capital of Kiev. According to Ukraine-based web publication Strana , Lerner, 40-year-old citizen of Russia, was kidnapped on December 26 when he was leaving his office in the center of town (located on the Stepan Bandera Avenue). Unknown kidnappers in dark clothes and balaclavas dragged Lerner in their black Mercedes-Benz Vito brand (state number AA 2063 MT) car and drove away in an unknown direction. The information comes from an anonymous source in Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, though multiple investigations are currently underway to find out why and by whom Lerner was kidnapped. Lerner is a recognized IT specialist in Ukraine who led a number of startups related to blockchain technology development and mining operations. Lerner is also the managing director of EXMO
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