Sunday, 10 December, 2017

Bitcoin Exchange NiceHash Hacked And $64 Million Stolen

NiceHash website showing a maintenance message during security breach announcement Bitcoin Mining platform Nicehash Hacked - 56 Million USD In BTC reportedly gone
Sherri Watson | 07 December, 2017, 13:37

Site operators said they are still working to evaluate the total number of Bitcoin funds that were stolen, but users who had earnings stolen said Bitcoin funds were rerouted to a wallet address now storing 4,736.42 Bitcoin - over $62,6 million at today's Bitcoin price ($13,450). The company is now investigating the precise amount stolen, though estimates around the web put it north of $66 million United States dollars worth of the popular cryptocurrency (at time of writing 1 BTC = ~$13970.50).

Although the NiceHash team did not reveal any amounts that may be missing, users circulated a wallet address that indicated 4,736.42 bitcoins - worth more than $62 million - is missing.

In a press release posted on Reddit, on Wednesday, NiceHash said that all operations will stop for the next 24 hours after their "payment system was compromised and the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen".

It wasn't immediately clear whether funds had been taken from NiceHash users' accounts as well. The company has advised users to change online passwords, saying it was still trying to figure the details on the security breach, Reuters reported.

"In addition to undertaking our own investigation, the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are cooperating with them as a matter of urgency", it said.

The hack will put a spotlight on the security of bitcoin just as the trading community prepares for the currency to start trading on two established US exchanges. That compares with a value below $1,000 at the beginning of the year. On Thursday it surged to over $14,100.74, up $1,000 in less than a day, according to Coindesk.

A debate is raging on the merits of such currencies. Others say they can be helpful methods of payment, such as in crisis situations where national currencies have collapsed.

The cryptocurrency mining service allows customers to offer up their extra computer processing power for the hefty maths calculations required to create or mine new Bitcoin or other digital currency. That prevents cheaters from spending the same digital coin twice.

This wouldn't be the first time people have lost millions in cryptocurrency.