Cryptocurrency exchange Bitmart has emerged as the latest victim of a severe hack attack. An alleged $196 million (roughly Rs. 1,479 crore) stored as various cryptocurrencies have been stolen from Bitmart in this attack. The stolen tokens were directed to the unidentified hacker(s) hiding under the pseudo name of “Bitmart Hacker”. The breach that happened on the evening of Saturday, December 4 gained traction after security firm PeckShield posted about it on Twitter. While the stolen Ethereum-based crypto assets made up for $100 million (roughly Rs. 754 crore), the remaining $96 million (roughly Rs. 724 crore) worth of assets were based on the Binance Smart Chain, according to PeckShield.
In a series of tweets, PeckShield shared screenshots of the cryptocurrencies that have been stolen in this breach.
The hack has also been acknowledged by Sheldon Xia, the CEO of Bitmart who tweeted that the incident was caused by a stolen private key that had two hot wallets compromised. Internet-powered hot wallets are linked with public and private keys to facilitate crypto transactions while also acting as a security measure.
Xia also added that for the time being, Bitmart has chosen to suspend all withdrawals until further notice.
1/3 We have identified a large-scale security breach related to one of our ETH hot wallets and one of our BSC hot wallets. At this moment we are still concluding the possible methods used. The hackers were able to withdraw assets of the value of approximately USD 150 million.
— Sheldon Xia (@sheldonbitmart) December 5, 2021
The obtained Ether tokens are being deposited into privacy mixer called Tornado Cash, making the hacked funds difficult to be traced.
Investigations have been launched to track the hacker responsible for this Bitmart breach.
A recent report has revealed that the total crypto crime in 2020 amounted to around $10.52 billion (roughly Rs. 79,194 crores).
In October, a major hack attack cost Ethereum-powered lending protocol called “Cream Finance” worth of crypto assets.
Earlier in November, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said that cyber scammers are making innocent people use physical cryptocurrency ATMs and digital QR Codes to complete malicious transactions and dupe them off assets.