One Of The Biggest Ever Crypto Heists – Hackers Steal Over $600 Million

Crypto Heists are on the rise in 2022 and we have witnessed one of the biggest one yet! The blockchain network used by the players of the popular online game Axie Infinity was compromised when hackers carried out one of the biggest digital heists ever.

Ronin network, the blockchain network whose security was breached by the hackers, lost $600 million in cryptocurrency as it became a victim of one of the greatest heists of all time.

Details Of The Crypto Heist

This heist was carried out in the popular online game Axie Infinity’s blockchain network. The hackers stole 173,600 ether and US $25.5 million worth of stablecoin which was valued at around $545 million when the heist took place, on 23rd March.

Crypto Heists
Over 173K Ether got stolen in this Crypto Heist

When the attack was discovered, the haul was worth over $600 million on Tuesday. This makes the heist one of the largest thefts in the world of cryptocurrency. According to a statement by Ronin Network, most of the cryptocurrency that was stolen is still in the hacker’s wallet. As of now, Ronin Bridge and Katana Dex.

The attack happened in two transactions for the two cryptocurrencies that were stolen. Ronin Network only came to know about the attack after a player had raised a complaint claiming they weren’t able to withdraw 5k ETH from Ronin Bridge.

How Did The Hackers Breach Security?

Ronin is carrying out an in-depth investigation into the matter with law enforcement officials and forensic cryptographers. Currently, they have identified the breach of validator nodes as a means through which attackers gained control over the transactions.  In order to validate a deposit or a withdrawal on Sky Mavis’ Ronin chain, five out of the nine validator signatures are needed. The hackers managed to get control over four of the signatures and a third-party validator from the Axie DAO. 

For short-term damage prevention, Ronin announced that it will raise the number of validations required to approve a transaction from five to eight, out of nine validators. Ronin Network is in talks with Sky Mavis stakeholders for the next step to be taken in order to make sure that the users do not lose any of their funds.

What Are The Other Big Crypto Heists?

The crypto space has been plagued with quite a few heists since its inception with the advent of bitcoin back in 2008. Here are some of the significant and high-profile heists that have taken place over the years.

The PolyNetwork Heist In 2021

Blockchain site Poly Network, in August 2021 revealed that over $600 million worth of digital assets such as ether were stolen from their network. The heist was regarded as the biggest attack on decentralized finance ever. Poly network put out a statement asking the hackers to return the currency that was stolen.

Crypto Heists
PolyNetwork Heist

A few hours later, the hackers started depositing the tokens that they stole back into the wallets controlled by Poly. Initial transfers were small but were followed by the hackers returning the stolen assets worth millions. The magnitude of the heist forced Poly and other networks to rethink their security and make sure such similar vulnerabilities are not exploited in the future.

Wormhole Security Breached Resulting In Theft Of $320 million 

Wormhole, a popular bridge that facilitated the transaction of Ethereum was under the radar of hackers back in February 2022. The hack saw nearly $320 million worth of cryptocurrencies being wiped off the bridge. However, Chicago-based Jump Trading acquired the developer behind Wormhole and replaced the funds stolen by the hackers in order to rebuild the system and gain the support of the users.

Coincheck Attack in 2018

Hackers infected the computers of Coincheck employees with malware in 2018 resulting in a heist with a loot of $534 million; the attack was attributed to Russian hacker gangs. The hack eventually turned out to have started with malware on the personal computers of Coincheck employees. A phishing email most likely initiated the infection. Once the employee’s laptop was compromised, the hackers gained access to the exchange’s sensitive data.

The Tokyo-based company was also hacked in 2020. Hackers breached a domain registration service account the company held and used it to send spoofed emails aimed at more than 200 Coincheck customers.

Crypto Heists And Thefts Are On The Rise

There have been numerous incidents where attackers have managed to exploit security vulnerabilities of services like Ronin and Poly Network and this number seems to be rising as the usage of crypto increases. The hackers have been able to exploit the key feature of cryptocurrency which is its anonymity while performing transactions. Centralized exchanges and Decentralized finance are the most targeted victims of these hackers. 

Does this mean you are at risk of losing your assets due to such attacks? Not necessarily. Many companies, like Bitmart, do pledge to reimburse their users in case such events do occur. If the company does fail to reimburse then law enforcement bodies like the cyber unit of the IRS can be able to recover stolen funds.

One can research Centralized exchanges and Decentralized finances before they put their assets in them. Thorough research and review of these services, their security measures and their reimbursement policies can minimize losses to users who are looking to make use of such services.

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