HACKERS have stolen $600 million in a daring cryptocurrency heist after spotting a blockchain vulnerability.
In one of the biggest ever cryptocurrency thefts, the cyber criminals exploited a vulnerability in Poly Network, a platform that looks to connect different blockchains so that they can work together.
A blockchain is where encrypted data can be supposedly transferred securely, making it nearly impossible to duplicate or counterfeit.
The site said the hackers have taken thousands of digital tokens such as Ether.
"The amount of money you hacked is the biggest one in the defi history," Poly Network said in a tweeted message to the thieves, using a reference to decentralised finance involving cryptocurrency.
The platform added that the money as stolen from "tens of thousands of crypto community members".
Poly Network threatened police involvement, but also pleaded with the hackers to "work out a solution".
The site said an initial probe investigation found a hacker exploited a "vulnerability between contract calls".
About $267m of Ether currency has been taken, $252m of Binance coins and roughly $85 million in USDC tokens.
Once the hackers stole the money, they began to send it to various other cryptocurrency addresses, CNBC reports.
Researchers at security company SlowMist said a total of more than $610 million worth of cryptocurrency was transferred to three different addresses.
SlowMist said that their researchers had “grasped the attacker’s mailbox, IP, and device fingerprints” and are “tracking possible identity clues related to the Poly Network attacker”.
The researchers concluded that the theft was “likely to be a long-planned, organized and prepared attack”.
LONG PLANNED ATTACK
The site urged cryptocurrency exchanges to “blacklist tokens” coming from the addresses that were linked to the hackers.
Cryptocurrency systems have been were developed independently, so have struggled to work in conjunction with each other.
Each digital coin has its own blockchain and they’re different to each other but Poly Network claims to be able to make these various blockchains work with each other.
What is and Ether and Ethereum?
Ether is the token used for transactions that allows operations on the Ethereum network.
It has been described as the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network and just like cash, it doesn't require a third party to process or approve transactions.
Ethereum is a technology that uses blockchain development to replace internet third parties that store data and financial records.
It was founded by eight people, one of which is 27-year-old cryptocurrency "celebrity" Vitalik Buterin.
Ether is the solution to the issue of payment – a digital asset-bearer like a bond or other security.
It is the world’s second-largest virtual currency after BitCoin.
A blockchain is essentially a digital record of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems.
Each block in the chain contains a number of transactions, and every time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of that transaction is added to every participant’s ledger.
The aim is to make it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system though hackers now appear to be now have found vulnerabilities and DeFi has become a key target for attacks.
Since the start of the year until July, DeFi-related hacks totaled $361 million
That’s an increase of nearly three times from the whole of 2020, according to cryptocurrency compliance company CipherTrace.
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