Crypto gangsters steal more than 15,000 Ethereum from Liquid exchange

More than 6,000 Ethereum (ETH) has already vanished through coin mixers

As headlines were made last week over the Chinese Poly Network hack by the now infamous ‘Mr White Hat’, a second heist was brewing at another of Asia’s largest centralised cryptocurrency exchanges where thieves would make off with $97m in stolen digital assets.

The Japanese Liquid exchange reported the unfolding events in a series of tweets.

The company revealed the wallet addresses which were used by the hacker to steal the funds, and temporarily froze all activity on the exchange while assessing the extent of the hack’s impact.

Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Tron (TRX) and Ripple (XRP) were the main assets targeted in the theft.

Coin mixers that randomly pool and clean cryptocurrencies in a non-custodial fashion have been used by the hackers to get away with almost half the stolen assets. According to chain data, 6,000 Ethereum (ETH) worth a staggering $20m has already been cycled through mixers into new anonymous wallets.

Uniswap was the decentralised platform used to swap ERC20 tokens stolen in the heist for more liquid Ether.

Authorities are working to recover the remaining 9,600 ETH which the hacker is yet to move from their wallet. The Japanese exchange remains hopeful the Ether valued at $32m can be recovered.

Progress was made over the weekend according to updates from Liquid on its corporate blog, the company further announced that it had already significantly ramped up network security to ensure protections against future robberies by crypto gangsters.

A wake up call for the industry

Paolo Ardoino, the Chief Technical Officer at the Bitfinex derivatives exchange, pointed to the latest hack as a wake up call for the industry. Using the event as an opportunity to suggest a more unified approach with exchanges and trading platforms working together to increase security measures in crypto.

“Today’s hack at the Liquid exchange is the latest security breach in the digital token space,” he said.

“This is another warning, if one were needed, to everyone.

“The ingenuity of bad actors seeking to breach the security systems of exchanges and trading platforms will not abate. It is therefore imperative that we work together as an industry with all exchanges remaining in a perpetual state of vigilance against such threats.

“While the safeguarding of customer funds is of course an exchange’s number one priority, holders of cryptocurrencies should take all steps necessary to ensure that their funds are safe.

“These include ensuring that they have a cold wallet, two factor authentication, notification messages when funds are withdrawn, and avoiding public WiFi.”

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