A major cryptocurrency exchange has stopped trading after claiming that hackers had stolen some of the digital currencies it stored.
Seoul-based Bithumb said 35 billion won (£ 24 million; US $ 31.6 million) in cyber cash was “seized” overnight, adding that it would fully compensate affected customers. The values of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple fell on the news. This is the second time in less than a year that Bithumb has been breached. Last July, it acknowledged that an employee’s PC had been hacked, exposing users’ personal data. South Korea’s spy agency later accused North Korea of being responsible after the stolen information was used to carry out scams.
Bithumb notified a local regulator, the Korea Internet and Security Agency, of the latest attack shortly before alerting the public via social media. Some cryptocurrencies valued [at] around $ 30 million were stolen,” he posted in a since deleted tweet. In later posts, which are still online, he added All deposit and withdrawal services will be stopped to ensure [our] safety We are providing compensation Bithumb urgently asks our valued clients not to deposit any funds to Bithumb’s wallet addresses for the time being” .
The company provided a shortened Google link with more information, but it appears to have been blocked by the search company for unspecified reasons. An earlier post on Bithumb’s Twitter account reveals that it had announced that a database update was taking place as part of a security update late last week. It added that it had transferred assets to a “cold wallet,” a term used to refer to external storage disconnected from the Internet, as part of the process. However, it is unclear whether this is related to the reported theft.
The Yonhap news agency reported that police officers launched an investigation and collected computer logs at the company’s headquarters. The incident comes just over a week after another South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail reported that it had been the victim of a separate attack in which hackers had stolen virtual currencies worth 40 billion won. However, Bithumb is the larger of the two operations and represents the sixth most active.