Security & Fraud

NiceHash Hack Exceeds $64M In Bitcoin

A cryptocurrency mining market in Slovenia, which lost millions in bitcoin in a Wednesday (Dec. 6) cyberattack, is now claiming the hack likely came from an IP address outside the European Union.

NiceHash — a platform which offers services from individuals with cloud mining computing power in exchange for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, Zcash and other altcoins — says the cyberheist likely impacted investors located “all over the world,” according to news from Reuters on Friday (Dec. 8).

The firm reported it had stopped its mining operations for approximately 24 hours as of Thursday (Dec. 7), halting its work as it tried to piece together just how it was hacked and how much bitcoin went missing. Early estimates came in around 47,000 bitcoins, but the number has since risen.

The firm’s head, Marko Kobal, took to Facebook to explain in a video recording that the cyberattack and theft of $64 million in bitcoin was made using a NiceHash engineer’s company credentials, but the IP address that perpetrated the attack was located outside the company’s walls.

Bitcoin has reached record highs in recent weeks, though it fell more than 12 percent to approximately $14,500 on bitcoin exchange Bitstamp on Friday.

The volatile cryptocurrency has made international waves, though, with some big-name investors backing the growing digital currency, some national governments banning its mining or use as a payment method and still others claiming it to be either a boon or a dangerous bubble.

At least 36 heists have been perpetrated against cryptocurrency exchanges since 2011, most notably the 2014 collapse of bitcoin market Mt. Gox. The attack against NiceHash highlights the digital security issues and risks associated with investment in cyber-based currencies, particularly as they continue to grow in value.

Slovenian police have launched an investigation into the NiceHash hack but have provided no further updates on its progress.

In separate NiceHash news, the company announced its chief technical officer had been arrested and imprisoned for his work on the Mariposa virus, a 2010 cyberattack that impacted and infected millions of computers worldwide.

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