Home Security Digital marketplace loses US$64m as bitcoin wallet stolen

Digital marketplace loses US$64m as bitcoin wallet stolen

A Slovenian digital currency marketplace has had the contents of its bitcoin wallet stolen and has lost about US$64 million as a result.

NiceHash matches people who want to sell processing time on their computers in exchange for bitcoin.

A report in Fortune quoted NiceHash head of marketing Andrej P. Škraba as saying that the hack was “a highly professional attack with sophisticated social engineering”.

But other reports said that the NiceHash compromise was through a simple phishing attack.

UAE-based security researcher Matthieu Suiche commented on Twitter: "It's pretty concerning that exchanges are being compromised via simple phishing attacks.

"The damages will be even greater when groups, like Lazarus group, who are known to target SWIFT infrastructures with more sophisticated attacks will target actual exchanges."

NiceHash said in a statement that following the theft, it was shutting down operations for 24 hours until it verified how many bitcoins were stolen.

The company said its payment system had been compromised.

"Clearly, this is a matter of deep concern and we are working hard to rectify the matter in the coming days," the statement said.

"In addition to undertaking our own investigation, the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are co-operating with them as a matter of urgency.

"We are fully committed to restoring the NiceHash service with the highest security measures at the earliest opportunity."


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.