Bithumb, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, came under attack between Tuesday night, June 19, and Wednesday morning, June 20.
Bithumb Hacked, $31.51 Million Stolen
Attackers hacked into the exchange and stole cryptocurrency worth 35 billion, which converts to about $31.51 million, Bitthumb said in a statement on its website.
The Seoul-based operator has temporarily halted all deposit and withdrawal services in the wake of the hacking and asked all customers to refrain from depositing funds into their Bithumb wallet until further notice.
The platform added that the stolen money will be covered by the exchange's reserves, and customer assets have been transferred to a cold wallet that stores cryptocurrencies in an offline environment that is not accessible via the internet.
Bithumb, which trades more than 37 different virtual currencies on its platform, has a 24-hour trading volume of nearly $400 million, according to statistics obtained from CoinMarketCap, which makes it the sixth largest virtual currency exchange in the world.
Shortly after news of the Bitthumb hacking broke, Bitcoin fell 2.3 percent from about $6,718.35 to $6,590, extending losses as a series of attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges over the past couple of weeks are making investors nervous. The popular cryptocurrency has fallen about 70 percent since hitting its all-time peak in December last year.
Earlier last week, the virtual currency plunged to its three-month low after hackers targeted another South Korean cryptocurrency exchange.
Second Cryptocurrency Exchange Hacked In Two Weeks
On June 10, Coinrail, a smaller South Korea-based virtual currency exchange, was hacked, and currency worth an estimated $40 million was stolen in the attack.
The cyber attack followed the high-profile theft of Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck in January. The hackers made off with over half a billion dollars' worth of digital currency in what was one of the biggest heists in history.
Mun Chong-hyun, chief analyst at Seoul-based ESTsecurity, told Reuters that virtual currency has become a juicy target for hackers across the globe.
"No security measures or regulations can 100 percent guarantee safety of virtual coins," Mun said. "It is held anonymously and in lightly-secured systems, which makes them an irresistible target."
Earlier this year, South Korea imposed a ban on anonymous bank account used for trading digital currency in a bid to prevent the use of cryptocurrency for money laundering and other crimes. However, the government said that it has no plans to go to the extent of shutting down domestic exchanges.