Hackers steal $600 million of crypto in record theft

Aug 11, 2021 0 comments

image: newsweek.com.

Hackers perpetrated what is likely the biggest theft ever in the world of decentralised finance, stealing about $US600 million ($816 million) in cryptocurrency from a protocol known as PolyNetwork that lets users swap tokens across multiple blockchains.

Tens of thousands of people are affected by the hack, PolyNetwork said in a letter posted on Twitter. About $US33 million of the stablecoin Tether that was a part of the theft has been frozen by Tether’s issuer, making it unavailable to the attacker.

It isn’t clear from the PolyNetwork website who runs the protocol, which governs transactions that run on the application. DeFi, or decentralised finance has surged in popularity in the past few years in the wake of a boom in the development of applications that let people trade, borrow and lend funds to each other without intermediaries.

Security researcher SlowMist said it has found the attacker’s email, IP address and device fingerprints, the team reported on Twitter. It added that “this is likely to be a long-planned, organised and prepared attack.” Crypto exchanges including Binance are involved in helping PolyNetwork, Binance chief executive officer Changeng Zhao said on Twitter.

“The hacker has begun to use decentralised exchanges to convert the stolen assets into other assets, including stablecoins,” Tom Robinson, co-founder of Ellitic, said in an email.

“Tokens such as stablecoins can in theory be seized by their issuers, which could lead to them being returned to their rightful owners. However this isn’t possible for the stolen Ether, although it may be possible to seize these funds if they are sent to a centralised exchange to be cashed-out.”

With DeFi apps attracting billions in investor funds, they’ve also become frequent targets of attacks. This year, DeFi-related hacks made up more than 60 per cent of the total hack and theft volume of crypto attacks, up from 20 per cent in 2020, according to crypto security company CipherTrace. At $US156 million, the amount netted from DeFi-related hacks in the first five months of 2021 already surpasses the $US129 million stolen in DeFi-related hacks throughout all of 2020, CipherTrace said.

About $US80 billion is locked in DeFi applications, making them an attractive target, according to tracker DeFi Pulse.

Sourced from brisbanetimes.com.au.




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