Livecoin, a Russian-based crypto exchange, has been hacked. The hackers managed to change the rates of cryptos traded on the service to earn quick and massive profits. That hack happened over the night of December 23-24. The exchange published on its site on Christmas Eve that the service was subject to a:
“carefully planned attack” that it suggested may have been planned “over the last few months.”
In that hack, the firm lost control over all of its servers, back ends, and nodes along with the ‘new channels’ presumably referring to various social media accounts. The clients were urged to stop using this service, which includes not depositing funds, trading, or using the site’s application programming interface.
Normally a hack of a crypto exchange comprises of the theft of crypto from a hot wallet. That might have happened as well although things became strange when the hackers went ahead and changed the exchange rates offered on various cryptos. Reports from ZDNet revealed that those behind that attack set the exchange rate for BTC to $450,000, XRP to $17, and Ethereum to $15,000.
After changing the exchange rates, these hackers started cashing out accounts which generated profits in the process. Furthermore, what is strange is how these funds were transacted, leaving several questions. Since hackers are said to have cashed out massive amounts after the inflated exchange rates, did they succeed in withdrawing cash or transferred amounts to other cryptos?
In case they withdrew cash, which might seem to be one path, how did they manage to get these amounts? Livecoin is not a large exchange. This platform, before being hacked was listed as the 173rd biggest crypto exchange in the entire world by volume. According to data analysis, the exchange averaged $50 million in transactions every day before rising to $805 million when the hack first happened.
Crypto exchange hacks used to be a dime a dozen just a few years back but has plunged somewhat as many firms have invested in cybersecurity to avert attacks. In that context, they still exist, and with BTC prices exploding to record highs, hackers will mostly be paying a lot of attention to the market segment.
Other notable hacks include the theft of almost $150M from Singapore-based crypto exchange KuCoin in September and a smaller hack and theft of almost $10 million in crypto from EXMO Exchange Limited in the past week.