Bithumb, the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, was the subject of a hack — $31.5 million worth of digital tokens were stolen in what is the second attack on a local exchange in the country this month.
Reuters citied Bithumb’s notice on its website Wednesday (June 20) informing customers that it has halted trading after determining that “some cryptocurrencies worth about 35 billion won were seized between late yesterday and early morning today.” Bithumb said it stored the assets of its clients in so-called cold wallets which aren’t connected to the Internet and said it would compensate customers who were impacted. Reuters noted that Bithumb didn’t say if the stolen coins were in wallets that were connected to the Internet.
The hack comes amid increased interest on the part of hackers to go after cryptocurrency exchanges — Mun Chong-hyun, chief analyst at ESTsecurity, told Reuters that cryptocurrency will continue to be an alluring target for hackers across the globe. “No security measures or regulations can 100 percent guarantee safety of virtual coins. They are held anonymously and in lightly-secured systems, which makes them an irresistible target,” Mun told Reuters.
Earlier this month Coinrail, a small South Korean digital currency exchange, disclosed it was hacked and that alt coins, which are a version of bitcoin, had been stolen — with 70 percent of the tokens being moved to a so-called cold wallet, which is storage that’s not connected to the Internet. The company said it is working with authorities to recover the tokens. The Wall Street Journal said it is possible that greater than $40 million worth of the alt coins were stolen. Coinrail didn’t disclose the value of the coins stolen. Coinrail is small in terms of the exchanges operating out of South Korea.
Regulators in South Korea have been acting tougher when it comes to overseeing the cryptocurrency market. South Korea is a hotbed of digital token trading and has some of the highest trading volumes in the market. It is also known for cyber attacks of these cryptocurrency exchanges.