$40 Million Worth Of Bitcoins Stolen From Binance Exchange By Unidentified Hackers

Binance Exchange
Representation of the Bitcoin virtual currency standing on a PC motherboard (Photo: Reuters)

One of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges has just been hacked, with the perpetrators running away with 7,000 Bitcoins. Binance revealed that more than $40 million worth of Bitcoins has just been stolen via a single transaction. The massive-scale security breach is the latest incident in a long line of digital thefts involving cryptocurrencies.

According to the global cryptocurrency exchange, which trades in over 100 cryptocurrencies, the hackers that stole the Bitcoins used a variety of techniques that includes viruses and phishing techniques to acquire large amounts of user data. Once the hackers acquired enough data, they initiated the heist in one quick swoop, stealing thousands in a single transaction. The Exchange believes that there may be more affected accounts, but they have yet to be identified.

Fortunately for affected users, Binance currently has an emergency insurance fund called the Secure Asset Fund. The insurance policy will be enough to cover all the affected users' losses, which means that no funds will be affected by the hack. The exchange revealed that the hack only affected user's BTC hot wallet, which contains around 2 percent of the firm's entire Bitcoin holdings. Other types of BTC accounts remained secure and hackers were not able to get into those wallets.

The price of Bitcoins has continued to fluctuate, with prices now staying around $5,500 to $6,000 range. Based on the current values, the stolen 7,000 Bitcoins could be worth around $42 million at the higher end of the range.

Binance's chief executive officer, Zhao Changpeng, mentioned in an online post that the hackers had executed a very well-orchestrated attack, which they likely had planned for quite some time. Zhao revealed that they will be launching a full review of their current security measures, which will include a thorough check into their current systems and data.

The hackers reportedly bypassed the platform's security checks to immediately withdraw the large amounts of Bitcoin. Once the withdrawal was executed, it triggered alarms on the platform, which immediately blocked all further withdrawals.

Zhao estimates that they should be able to conclude their investigation in a week's time. During the investigation, all withdrawals and transactions on the exchange will be suspended. Trading and exchanges will still continue to be enabled, which should allow investors to change their positions to ride the fluctuations. Binance believes that the hackers may still have control of some of the accounts on its platform, which is why they are choosing to freeze all withdrawals and deposits for the meantime. Hackers could theoretically make large purchases on the platform to influence prices.

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