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Thursday, 17 January 2019 06:08

NZ cryptocurrency exchange loses 'significant' funds in breach

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NZ cryptocurrency exchange loses 'significant' funds in breach Pixabay

New Zealand cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia has suffered a breach and its operations have been locked down, with police saying that they are not yet in a position to indicate the quantum of the theft.

The company said in a notice on its site that there had been "significant losses" but went no further, only saying that "once identified, the exchange was put into maintenance while we assessed damages".

Cryptopia was set up in July 2014 and is based in Christchurch. It has two directors, Adam Clark and Robert Dawson, according to Blockonomi, a site that covers cryptocurrencies, fintech and the blockchain economy.

The police statement said they were trying to establish what happened and how the site had been breached.

"A priority for police is to identify and, if possible, recover missing funds for Cryptopia customers; however there are likely to be many challenges to achieving this," the statement said.

The website Crypto News cited a tweet from the chief executive of Binance, another cryptocurrency exchange, as saying some of the funds stolen from Cryptopia had been frozen.

These funds had been moved to Binance by the individuals who carried out the hack.

The police statement said: "While police are unable to go into details about specific steps being taken at this stage, we can say that our focus includes commencing both a forensic digital investigation of the company, and a physical scene examination at the building.

"We are dealing with a complex situation and we are unable to put a timeframe on how long the investigation may take.

"We are also aware of speculation in the online community about what might have occurred. It is too early for us to draw any conclusions and Police will keep an open mind on all possibilities while we gather the information we need."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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