$64 million worth of Bitcoin stolen in hack, says exchange

The hack was referred to as a 'highly professional attack with sophisticated social engineering' that resulted in approximately 4,700 bitcoin being stolen, worth around $63.92 million at current prices

7 December 2017, 1:55pm
(Photo: Fortune)
(Photo: Fortune)
Almost $64 million in bitcoin was stolen by hackers who cracked into the Slovenia-based bitcoin mining marketplace called NiceHash.

The marketplace suspended operations on Thursday, while investigations went on, saying it was working with law enforcement as “a matter of urgency”. NiceHash also issued a warning to users to change their passwords.

The hack was referred to as a “highly professional attack with sophisticated social engineering” that resulted in approximately 4,700 bitcoin being stolen, worth around $63.92 million at current prices, said head of marketing at NiceHash Andrej P Skraba.

NiceHash is a marketplace which matches people looking to sell processing time on their computers for so called miners to verify bitcoin users’ transactions in exchange for the bitcoin.

Troubles with the site over the past day drew complaints and concern, as many bitcoin owners posted panicked comments on their social media.

“We understand that you will have a lot of questions, and we ask for patience and understanding while we investigate the causes and find the appropriate solutions for the future of the service,” said NiceHash in a statement.

The price of bitcoin surged to over $14,668 according to bitcoin monitor CoinDesk.

Online security is a concern for cryptocurrency marketplaces and exchanges, with bitcoins contained within digital wallets, which have become a main target for hackers as the number of coins stored as well as their value has increased drastically over the last year.

In Japan, after the failure of the bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, new laws were implemented to regulate cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.

Mt Gox was shut down in February 2014 after losing around 850,000 bitcoins, potentially to hackers.

Head of Mt Gox, Mark Karpeles, went on trial in July, facing up to five years imprisonment under charges of embezzlement and the loss of $28 of user funds.