TECH NEWS – Hackers have stolen around $600 million (£433 million) in what appears to be one of the biggest cryptocurrency heists ever.
Blockchain site Poly Network said that hackers exploited a vulnerability in its system and stole thousands of digital tokens such as Ether. In a letter posted on Twitter, the company called on the thieves to “make contact and return the hacked assets”.
The most incredible part of the story is now: they got their money back!
Hours after the hack, the attacker started returning the funds. At first, small transfers totalling a few dollars were sent back to the online wallets controlled by Poly – but then much larger deposits totalling hundreds of millions of dollars were made by the bank robbers who had gone good.
In terms of scale, the hacking is on a par with famous cases such as the electronic heists against Coincheck and Mt Gox.
Poly Network wrote in a letter: “The amount of money you have hacked is one of the largest in the history of defi [decentralised finance]. Law enforcement in any country will consider this a serious economic crime and will prosecute you.” – they tried to make the criminals see reason. The company also tried to appeal to emotions, pointing out that “The money you stole came from tens of thousands of crypto community members, i.e. the people”.
We are aware of the https://t.co/IgGJ0598Q0 exploit that occurred today. While no one controls BSC (or ETH), we are coordinating with all our security partners to proactively help. There are no guarantees. We will do as much as we can. Stay #SAFU. ? https://t.co/TG0dKPapQT
— CZ ? Binance (@cz_binance) August 10, 2021
According to Poly Network, a preliminary investigation found they could penetrate their system by the hacker exploiting a “vulnerability between contract calls”. As soon as it detected the attack, the company called on various exchanges to block coin deposits after millions of dollars in tokens were transferred to foreign cryptocurrency wallets. It is estimated that approximately $267 million of Ether currency, $252 million of Binance coins and roughly $85 million of USDC tokens were taken.
Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, said his company was also aware of the hacking but could only do what it was told. He added that the group is “coordinating with all our security partners to help proactively”. Nevertheless, he noted, “There are no guarantees.”
The Poly Network is a decentralised financial – or DeFi – provider that allows users to transfer tokens tied to a blockchain to another network. Cryptocurrency systems such as Ether and Binance were developed independently, making them relatively difficult to interoperate.
Negative and positive records have been broken
Fraud losses in the crypto sector reached an all-time high of $474 million in the first seven months of the year, according to a report published on Tuesday by research firm CipherTrace. This appears to contradict that losses from crime in the overall cryptocurrency market fell sharply to $681 million, compared to $1.9 billion for the whole of 2020 and $4.5 billion in 2019.
Last week, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against Defi lender Blockchain Credit Partners and two executives for allegedly raising $30 million through fraudulent offerings, the first SEC case involving Defi securities.
Source: BBC News