Italian crypto exchange platform Altsbit is the latest to suffer a hack with its hot wallet completely emptied by suspected cybercriminals.
“Almost All Funds” Stolen from Crypto Exchange
Altsbit announced the news of the hack via a tweet published on Thursday (February 6, 2020). The platform’s announcement reads:
Unfortunately, we have to notify you with the fact that our exchange was hacked during the night and almost all funds from BTC, ETH, ARRR and VRSC were stolen. A small part of the funds are safe on cold wallets.
Unfortunately we have to notify you with the fact that our exchange was hacked during the night and almost all funds from BTC, ETH, ARRR and VRSC were stolen.
A small part of the funds are safe on cold wallets.
— Altsbit (@altsbit) February 6, 2020
From the platform’s announcement, it appears Altbits kept a significant portion of its funds on hot wallets despite their vulnerability to malicious cyber intrusions. The Italian crypto exchange is yet to provide a full accounting of the total extent of the theft.
However, if follow-up tweets published by Altbits, it appears the hackers stole 1,066 Komodo (KMD) tokens and 283,375 Verus (VRSC) ‘coins.’ The combined value of both stolen cryptos stands at about $27,000.
As at press time, Altsbit has a 24-hour trading volume of $14.8 million with 98% of its trading activity coming from the ARRR/BTC pair (ARRR is the native token of the Pirate Chain).
Exchanges Working to Neutralize Cyber Threats
Reacting to the news of the hack, some proponents of decentralized exchanges (DEX) highlighted the vulnerabilities of centralized platforms. However, centralized platforms still command the greater trading volume as DEX services have notoriously difficult to navigate user interfaces (UI).
As for the security situation with centralized crypto exchange platforms, the 2020 Crypto Crime Report from Chainalysis shows exchanges appear better equipped to deal with hackers. Despite the increase in the number of hacking incidents, the blockchain analytics firm reported that the total amount stolen in those attacks declined significantly from previous years.
One of the key defensive strategies adopted by crypto exchange platforms is to limit their hot wallet holdings. Thus, barring any inside involvement, hackers are reportedly less able to siphon vast crypto sums from vulnerable hot wallets.
Lazarus Group — a North Korean state-sponsored hacking syndicate suspected of being behind many of the attacks on exchanges in Asia Pacific appears to be even changing its attack vectors. As previously reported by Bitcoinist, the group is utilizing phishing malware on popular messaging platform Telegram to siphon cryptos from victims.
Do you think Altsbit will survive this hacking incident or will the platform be the next to go bankrupt? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @Altsbit