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Hacker steals £140 million from crypto firm Wintermute

·2-min read
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Crypto market business Wintermute became the latest victim in wave of cybersecurity threats affecting the digital asset industry after its boss announced £140 million had been stolen from the company in a hacking attempt.

Wintermute CEO Evgeny Gaevoy stressed that the company remained solvent and open to customer loan recalls. He suggested the incident may have been organised by an ethical hacker, known as a ‘white hat’.

He said on Twitter: “We’ve been hacked for about $160m [£140m] in our defi operations.

“We are (still) open to treat this as a white hat, so if you are the attacker – get in touch.”

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao offered his support to Wintermute, tweeting: “Our security team is available to help, and has been monitoring.”

A record £1.6 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen in hacks of services in the year to July 2022 as organised online criminals and nefarious state actors exploit vulnerabilities in decentralised finance.

The sums are around 60% higher than for the same period a year ago, according to data from blockchain platform Chainalysis, and stand in stark contrast to overall criminal activity online, which is down 15%, and online scam revenue, which fell 65%.

Deryck Mitchelson, chief information security officer at cyber security firm Check Point Software, said: We are seeing a huge increase in attacks on crypto exchange platforms and in particular Decentralised Finance (DeFi). Exploits in code and obtained private keys are the main attack vectors.

“The value currently locked in DeFi continues to grow…which is driving the increase in attacks. A much more rigorous approach to application and platform security is clearly needed."

Based in Washington, Wintermute helps builds markets for cryptocurrency exchanges and decentralised trading platforms.

It comes just days after cybersecurity policies at Uber were called into question after the ride-hailing app was forced to shut down its staff messaging service following a security breach on its computer network.

The hacker who claimed responsibility for the breach said he was 18 years old, according to the New York Times, and called for Uber drivers to receive higher pay.