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Crypto exchange Binance loses 7000 BTC to hackers in hot wallet breach

Wed, 08 May 2019, 06:33 am UTC

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance suffered a major hack on Tuesday, May 07, in which it lost 7000 BTC, worth around $40 million, to hackers.

Providing the details on the security breach, Binance said that hackers were able to access a large number of user API keys, 2FA codes, and potentially other info, using various techniques, including phishing, viruses and other attacks.

Importantly, the hackers stole 7000 BTC in one transaction, Binance said, adding that it affected only its BTC hot wallet, which contained about 2% of its total BTC holdings.

“The transaction is structured in a way that passed our existing security checks. It was unfortunate that we were not able to block this withdrawal before it was executed. Once executed, the withdrawal triggered various alarms in our system. We stopped all withdrawals immediately after that,” Binance said.

The exchange assured its users that their funds would not be affected due to this incident and said that it will use the Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU fund) for fully covering the losses.

Binance has suspended deposits and withdrawals and will conduct a thorough security review of all parts of its systems and data.

Following the incident, Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao hosted an Ask-Me-Anything live session and said that they were considering whether to push for a rollback on the bitcoin network, CoinDesk reported.

“To be honest, we can actually do this probably within the next a few days. But there’re concerns that if we do a rollback on the bitcoin network at that scale, it may have some negative consequences, in terms of destroying the credibility for bitcoin.”

However, in a series of tweet, Zhao said that they have decided against the re-org:

Following the hack, BTC/USD dropped by nearly $300 dollars, after it hit a high of $5974 (Coinbase) on May 07. The pair closed at $5748 on Tuesday and is currently trading at $5838 at the time of writing.

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