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On January 14th 2019, the New Zealand-based crypto exchange Cryptopia suffered a security breach which resulted in losses of $16 million dollars worth of Ethereum and other ERC20 tokens.
According to an investigation conducted by Elementus, Cryptopia hack was different from the previous exchange attacks of this nature and the worth of stolen ETH and tokens is much higher than expected. Moreover, Max Galka, co-founder and CEO of Elementus, has also warned Cryptopia about 2,000 vulnerable wallets remaining on the exchange.
Last week Cryptopia became the first reported cryptocurrency exchange hack in 2019. On Monday Jan. 14, 6:00 am the platform had initially announced that it had suspended trading facility and taken down the exchange services for “unscheduled maintenance” before revealing it had “suffered a security breach which resulted in significant losses.” Details have not been cleared until the blockchain infrastructure firm Elementus started to reveal information, including stolen figures, which it claims to be around $16 million in Ethereum (ETH) and other ERC20 tokens excluding other blockchains i.e. Bitcoin.
“Data on the Ethereum public blockchain indicates that funds began to be siphoned from Cryptopia’s two core wallets — one holding ETH, the other tokens — on the morning of Jan. 13.” – Elemntus reported.
Revealing further details, Elementus told that this hack was particularly unusual as attackers displayed no lack of urgency in siphoning the funds over time. Normally they fit one of two profiles of exchange hacks: these being either discovery of vulnerabilities in a wallet’s smart contract code or gaining authorized access of a wallet’s private key credentials, which can only target a single wallet. However, in the case of Cryptopia hack, the thieves gained access to not one but as many as over 76,000 wallets and the hack continued for days even after Cryptopia discovered the breach, unlike most crypto attacks where hackers withdraw the funds as fast as possible.
Max Galka, covering detailed analysis of the Cryptopia case reported:
“By our calculations, the total value of the stolen crypto (ether and various tokens), at current market prices, comes out to about USD 16 million. This number includes only what’s on the Ethereum blockchain (ether and ERC20 tokens). We have not examined the Bitcoin blockchain or other blockchains to see if funds were stolen there as well.”
Breaking down the potential loses, a net amount of stolen Ethereum was worth $3.5 million while Dentacoin stands at $2.4 million followed by $2 million in Oyster Pearl, $1.7 million in Lisk ML, as well $3 million in unspecified other tokens.
In contrast to these findings of Elementus, Cryptopia refused to reply and remained silent. However, Cryptopia has been cooperating with the New Zealand police and High-Tech crimes unit.