Hackers withdrew 7,000+ bitcoin (BTC) — worth of more than €36m — and obtained a large number of user API keys, 2FA codes, and potentially other information through a large scale security breach on Malta-based digital asset exchange Binance’s platform, according to a press statement by the company. Binance says it will use the #SAFU fund to cover this incident in full, adding that no user funds will be affected.
The breach was discovered May 7, 2019 at 17:15:24 (UTC), caused by hackers using a variety of techniques, including phishing, viruses and other attacks.
Binance says all the 7,000+ bitcoin was compromised in one transaction, being the only affected transaction. “It impacted our BTC hot wallet only (which contained about 2% of our total BTC holdings). All of our other wallets are secure and unharmed,” the press statement says.
“The hackers had the patience to wait, and execute well-orchestrated actions through multiple seemingly independent accounts at the most opportune time. The transaction is structured in a way that passed our existing security checks. It was unfortunate that we were not able to block this withdrawal before it was executed. Once executed, the withdrawal triggered various alarms in our system. We stopped all withdrawals immediately after that,” the press statement adds.
Binance said after the incident that they will conduct a thorough security review, which will include all parts of their systems and data. The review should take a week, according to Binance’s estimates. During this period, deposits and withdrawals will need to remain suspended. “We beg for your understanding in this difficult situation,” Binance says. Trading remains enabled, though.
“Please also understand that the hackers may still control certain user accounts and may use those to influence prices in the meantime. We will monitor the situation closely. But we believe with withdrawals disabled, there isn’t much incentive for hackers to influence markets. In this difficult time, we strive to maintain transparency and would be appreciative of your support,” the Binance press release says.