New Zealand cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia has published a series of tweets detailing the extent of the losses it suffered during an attack by hackers in January. It said: “We have calculated that worst case 9.4 percent of our total holdings was stolen.”
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‘Securing Individual Wallets’
The Christchurch-based exchange explained that it is “continuing to assess the impact incurred as a result of the hack,” but did not provide the value of the heist in dollar terms.
Since Jan. 15, when Cryptopia announced the cyber attack, details about the theft have largely remained unclear and the amount lost has not been made public. The exchange has kept a tight lid on information, claiming the theft was now a police matter, much to the chagrin of thousands of customers.
However, data analytics company Elementus estimated that the hackers made off with $16 million worth of ethereum and ERC20 tokens. The company described the theft as “weird” as it was conducted carefully, in a series of small transfers targeting individual wallets. Normally hacks tend to be quick one-time events, with attackers taking advantage of a vulnerability and then immediately trying “to launder the money in one shot,” it said.
Even after police had moved in, the hacker reportedly continued with the attack on the New Zealand trading platform, stealing $181,000 worth of ethereum from about 17,000 wallets. Elementus postulated that it is possible future hackers may try and copy the Cryptopia technique in order to avoid detection.
In a series of tweets on Feb. 27, Cryptopia claimed to be “securing each wallet individually to ensure the exchange is fully secure when we resume trading. As a result of the new wallets please refrain from depositing any funds into old Cryptopia addresses.” The exchange said it would provide more updates starting Thursday, Feb. 28.
While many users welcomed the break of silence from Cryptopia, others laughed off the thought of making new deposits into an exchange still smarting from a multi-million-dollar attack. “They are afraid to open because they know everyone will withdraw. And that’s the end of that exchange,” said @cryptojokerrr.
Jason Smith (@iwearahoodle) stated: “Not sure deposits into Cryptopia are going to be the main problem.” Another user said: “Don’t worry we don’t deposit we need withdrawal.”
On Feb. 14, Cryptopia reported that it had been granted access to its building by the New Zealand police as investigations continued. Police spoke of how the investigation “was progressing well” at the time. A detective inspector with the New Zealand police stated then: “The focus is on identifying those behind this offending and retrieving the stolen cryptocurrency. This investigation is expected to take a considerable amount of time to resolve due to the complexity of the cyber environment.”
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