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Tuesday, 14 May 2019 09:28

Stolen Binance cryptocurrency salted away in seven addresses

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Stolen Binance cryptocurrency salted away in seven addresses Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

The hackers who stole 7000 bitcoins from cryptocurrency exchange Binance during a large-scale security breach, which was discovered last week, have salted away their gains at seven addresses, the anti-money laundering firm Coinfirm says.

In response to queries from iTWire, Coinfirm's Grant Blaisdell said the 7070.9 bitcoin had been moved from gold (initial addresses) to orange addresses and finally to red ones by Sunday.

Changpeng Zhao, the founder and chief executive of the company, said while announcing the theft that the attackers had obtained a huge amount of user API keys, 2FA codes and possibly other information.

"Currently almost US$41.8 million is sitting in seven addresses held by the hacker," Blaisdell said, providing the following addresses and the amount held in each:

  • bc1qw7g5uxxl750t0h2fh9xajwuxp4qt634yh3vg5q (1060.64)
  • bc1q3a5hd36jrqeseqa27nm40srkgxy8lk0v0tpjtp (707.09)
  • bc1q2rdpyt8ed9pm56u9t0zjf94zrdu6gufa47pf62 (1060.64)
  • bc1qnf2ja3ffqzc3hskanjse6p8zag52fm6jgmmg9u (1060.64)
  • bc1qx3628eh9tdnm0uzculu8k6r2ywfkc5zns2hp0k (1060.64)
  • 16SMGihY94H8UjRcxwsLnDtxRt7cRLkvoC (1060.64)
  • 1MNwMURYw1LkPnnpda2DQkkUsXXeKL9pmR (1060.64)

Blaisdell said these addresses did not appear to be linked to the attacker. Coinfirm had tracked the stolen cryptocurrency as it "had almost all major exchange hot wallets identified in our database. We then use our platform to analyse those wallets for anti-money laundering risk, or we can do other things like use our Visualizer tool to visually and forensically track addresses and transfer of funds", he added.

aml report

aml report2

An ant-money laundering risk report for the largest new address where the stolen cryptocurrency is stored.

Asked what the chances were that the stolen bitcoin would be recovered, Blaisdell said: "Any exchange of legitimacy needs to have proper KYC (know your customer) in place, but it's not bullet-proof especially as a lot of them do not do it the proper way.

"As this is such a high-profile case, it would be quite unlikely that an exchange would willingly accept these funds on top of it but there’s always a small chance, even though not likely."

As to what measures could be put in place to prevent a recurrence of this kind of theft, Blaisdell said: "Well, it needs to start with strict security standards and protocols within these exchanges. Eventually there will probably be requirements relating to those similar to what banks etc must follow.

"The other question is what can we do outside of the security of the exchange itself to not only prevent, but properly handle these situations once these hacks happen.

"[One way is] making it hard for these entities to liquidate funds, by providing tools to other entities to recognise the risk of funds and counterparties. There are some solutions growing out on the market to provide these combinations of transparency and security such as the AMLT Network."

Graphics: courtesy Coinfirm

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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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