Just days after a hacker pulled off an audacious crypto heist, another major public breach has occurred. Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Liquid is the latest victim of a cyber attack in which hackers took about $97 million in stolen assets.
The funds include $45 million in Ethereum tokens, which the "rogue" is converting to Ether using decentralized exchanges to avoid being frozen, according to Elliptic, a crypto tracking company that is assisting Liquid in the investigation process.
Liquid revealed on Thursday morning Singapore time that it had detected unauthorized access to some customers' crypto wallets. The breach prompted it to halt all crypto withdrawals, although other services, including trust withdrawals and deposits, were kept open. In its most recent Twitter update, the company said it was tracking the movement of the stolen assets and working with other exchanges to freeze and recover the funds.
The incident is the second major crypto theft this month. Earlier, a hacker stole - and quickly returned - about $611 million in Ethereum, Shiba Inu and other digital currencies from the decentralized finance platform Poly Network.
Subsequently, the company offered the still-unidentified theft suspect a bug bounty of 500,000 for helping to identify security vulnerabilities in its systems. However, it is unclear whether the bounty was used as a bargaining tool or just a means of putting a positive spin on an otherwise damaging series of events.
Meanwhile, this is the first time a Japanese exchange has been targeted for theft. In 2018, Tokyo-based Coincheck lost about $534 million in lesser-known crypto-tokens in a hack.
In 2014, its Japanese peer Mt. Gox lost between $400 million and $480 million in a crypto theft, which resulted in lawmakers in Japan passing a law to regulate bitcoin exchanges.