Yet another cryptocurrency exchange has been hit by a major cyber-attack, this time leading to the loss of over $5m from customers’ hot wallets.
Slovakian firm ETERBASE, which describes itself as “Europe’s premier digital asset exchange,” revealed yesterday that around $5.4m was stolen.
“Law enforcement authorities have been informed and we will assist as much as we can in the ongoing investigations,” it added. “We want to inform our users that we have enough capital to meet all our obligations.”
The firm moved quickly to contact the exchanges that it believes were used to receive the stolen funds. It claimed on Twitter that a large part of the digital currency ended up at Binance, Huobi and HitBTC.
Six hot wallets were affected, managing digital currencies: Bitcoin, Ether, ALGO, Ripple, Tezos and TRON.
Digital thefts at cryptocurrency exchanges are the 21st century equivalent of a bank heist, although with far fewer chances of the culprits ever getting caught.
They occur with worrying regularity: in February this year Italian exchange Altsbit said it had lost almost all the funds entrusted to it in a cyber-attack.
Some of the biggest of recent years have included a $32m attack on Japanese player Bitpoint last year; a $52m heist at South Korea’s UpBit a few months later; a $60m raid on Japanese exchange Zaif in September 2018 and a $31m attack on Seoul-based Bithumb a few months previously.
Many of these raids may have been coordinated by North Korean hackers, who have been singled out for attention by both the UN and security researchers at FireEye.
In fact, last year the UN claimed that Pyongyang had amassed a fortune of $2bn after its increasingly sophisticated hacking units attacked banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.