New Zealand’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, Cryptopia, has spoken publicly about its recent cyber-attack, which is said to be the largest hack on a crypto exchange thus far in 2019. An official update has been made public by the exchange via its Twitter account, confirming that the platform has calculated its “worst case” scenario, with a maximum of 9.4% of the platform’s crypto holdings lost to the cyber-criminals.
The confusion surrounding whether or not Cryptopia’s security had been breached began on 14th January when the platform appeared to go offline citing “unscheduled maintenance” work. This maintenance downtime reached 18 hours before the platform released an official notice admitting to “significant losses” as a result of a cyber-attack. The crypto exchange remained in maintenance mode as the platform’s owners sought to assess damages to both the platform’s assets and those of their customers.
New Zealand Police probing Cryptopia’s January hack
New Zealand police have been investigating the hack of Cryptopia exchange since January 2019
Image source: Kumpol Chuansakul/Shutterstock.com
The hack even saw the New Zealand police involved in closing the doors of Cryptopia’s physical headquarters, quizzing all of the platform’s employees, which total at around 100. Thus far, police investigators – in tandem with a high-tech crime unit – have failed to determine the identity of Cryptopia’s hackers, with the investigation still ongoing.
Despite a lack of progress in finding the perpetrators, Cryptopia opted to go public with its assessment that almost a tenth of its total holdings had been stolen. This figure tallies with recent analysis by blockchain firm, Elementus, which found that Ethereum (ETH) and other ERC-20 tokens had been stolen to the tune of $16 million. Elementus dug a little deeper to find that another $180,000 worth of Ethereum was tapped from Cryptopia’s cryptocurrency wallets in the days after the initial hacking.
Since confirming the maximum number of holdings that the platform has lost in recent weeks, Cryptopia has tweeted to say it is working hard on “securing each wallet individually to ensure the exchange is fully secure” once it resumes crypto trading. Their Twitter updates also confirmed that new Cryptopia wallets would be issued to customers and that customers should “immediately refrain from depositing funds into old Cryptopia addresses”.
Cryptopia working hard to transition wallets to “new secure servers”
Their latest Twitter update at the time of writing confirmed that almost a quarter (24%) of all crypto wallets had been transitioned to Cryptopia’s new secure servers. The tweet goes on to confirm that once the read-only version of the exchange is back online, they “will be keeping users up-to-date on which wallets have been checked and secured” within the Coin Info page.
It was heart-warming to see the wider cryptocurrency community reach out in support of Cryptopia’s owners. Nate Flanders, CEO and Co-Founder of Mandala Exchange, messaged Cryptopia directly to say that Mandala’s security team was at the disposal of Cryptopia should they need it. Flanders added that the crypto community needs to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the face of cyber-crime, confirming that he and his team were “100% by their side”.
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