Cryptocurrency Exchange UpBit Loses $52m in Attack

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One of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges has been forced to suspend account withdrawals and deposits after being hit by a major online heist.

South Korea’s UpBit issued the temporary suspension notice on Wednesday followed by a message from Lee Seok-woo, CEO of company owner Dunamu.

At around 1pm local time on Wednesday, 342,000 ETH ($52) were transferred from an UpBit hot wallet to an unknown recipient, he said.

Affected users will have their losses covered by the company, which has transferred all other cryptocurrency into the company’s cold wallet for improved security.

“It is estimated that it will take at least two weeks for the deposit and withdrawal to resume. I'll tell you again when this is done,” said Lee.

UpBit’s travails are the latest in a long line of successful cyber-attacks targeting cryptocurrency exchanges over recent months.

These included US firm Coinbase, which spotted double spend attacks topping $1m, Japan-based Bitpoint, which lost $32m, Singaporean company Bitrue, which was robbed of $4.5m and Malta-headquartered Binance.

Peter Wood, CEO of CoinBurp, argued that the latest hack should be a warning to investors about the importance of operating only on secure and reliable trading platforms.

“This is particularly important when it comes to cryptocurrency, as it is virtually untraceable and there is often no governing body to insure or refund any losses,” he added.

“However, potential investors should not be deterred by this catastrophic error, as UpBit, and other Korean crypto-exchanges have been the target of hackers before. It is important that all individuals properly research the security protocols and measures before operating on any crypto trading platform.”

North Korea was earlier this year blamed by the UN for using its growing hacking capabilities to target cryptocurrency exchanges in a bid to fill the state coffers. It's said to have amassed $2bn from such attacks.

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