Hackers Steal Over $600 Million in one of the Largest Cryptocurrency Thefts

Cryptocurrency coins lying on a laptop keyboard

Hackers have stolen over 600 million dollars worth of cryptocurrency, marking one of the largest ever crypto thefts. The hackers exploited a vulnerability in blockchain site Poly Network and stole large quantities of Ether, Binance Coin, and Tether. Subsequently, they transferred the stolen tokens to separate cryptocurrency wallets.

Poly Network Hack

The Poly Network is a decentralized finance, or DeFi, provider. It allows users to transfer tokens from one blockchain network to another. The Poly Network announced the attack via their official Twitter account. The hackers stole about $267 million in Ether, $252 in Binance Coin, and $85 in USDT, also known as Tether.

In the following tweets, it asked to establish communication with the hackers and urged them to “talk to us and work out a solution.”

In a letter to the hackers, the Poly Network said that “the amount of money you (the hackers) stole is the biggest one in the defi history. Law enforcement in any country will regard this as a major economic crime and you will be pursued.”

According to a preliminary investigation, the hackers exploited a “vulnerability between contract calls.”

Response and Investigation

The Poly Network released the addresses linked to the hackers. It urged crypto exchanges to block the deposit of tokens from these addresses. It plans on taking legal action and urged the hackers to return the tokens.

In response to the attack, Paolo Ardoino, the Chief Technology Officer of Tether, tweeted that $33 million worth of the digital token had been frozen.

Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, announced that he was aware of the attack and was coordinating with their security partners. He also said that “there are no guarantees” and that they will do as much as they can.

SlowMist Technology, a company focused on blockchain security, is investigating the attack. They said that their security team “has grasped the attacker’s mailbox, IP, and device fingerprints” and is tracking “possible identity clues.”

They described the attack as “long-planned, organized, and prepared.”

Growing attacks on DeFi

This year has seen a massive increase in DeFi-related hacks. Prior to the Poly Network hack, De-Fi hacks totaled $474 million, surpassing the total figure from 2020. Experts link the rise in DeFi related crimes to the growth in the DeFi ecosystem. Dave Jevans, CEO of CypherTrace, commented that the rise in such crimes “shouldn’t come as a surprise.”

For more information on how to protect yourself from Cryptocurrency scams, check out our detailed article on the scams to look out for in 2021.

Technology policy researcher
Prateek is a technology policy researcher with a background in law. His areas of interest include data protection, privacy, digital currencies, and digital literacy. Outside of his research interests, Prateek is an avid reader and is engaged in projects on sustainable farming practices in India.