Hackers have stolen more than $600 million USD (approximately $750 million CAD) in one of the largest cryptocurrency thefts in history, according to reports.
“The hackers targeted PolyNetwork, a decentralized finance platform that enables people to swap tokens across different blockchains,” the New York Post reported. “The theft affects tens of thousands of people, PolyNetwork said in a letter that was posted on Twitter and addressed to the anonymous hackers.”
“Dear Hacker,” the letter said. “We are the poly network team. We want to establish communication with you and urge you to return the hacked assets.”
“The amount of money you hacked is the biggest one in the defi history,” the letter said, referring to decentralized finance. “Law enforcement in any country will regard this as a major economic crime and you will be pursued. It is very unwise for you to do any further transactions. The money you stole are from tens of thousands of crypto community members, hence the people. You should talk to us to work out a solution.”
The Post reported that researchers at blockchain security firm SlowMist claimed more than $610 million worth of cryptocurrency was stolen.
“After the initial hack, the crooks allegedly sent their crypto haul to various digital wallet addresses in an effort to cover their trail. SlowMist said they have ‘grasped the attacker’s mailbox, IP, and device fingerprints … and is tracking possible identity clues related to the Poly Network attacker,'” said the Post.
Several cyber currencies have so far been able to freeze the stolen assets.
Changpeng Zhao, CEO of the popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance, said his company is “coordinating with all our security partners to proactively help,” but added “there are no guarantees.”
As of posting, in a strange turn of events, the hackers have begun returning some of the stolen funds.
In a message sent to Poly Network, the hackers said they were “ready to return” the funds. Poly Network responded by requesting the money be transferred to three crypto addresses.
Tom Robinson, the chief scientist of blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, said, “I think this demonstrates that even if you can steal cryptoassets, laundering them and cashing out is extremely difficult, due to the transparency of the blockchain and the use of blockchain analytics.”
The hacker has been answering a Q&A via embedded Ethereum transactions sent from an account controlled by the hacker.